Lightship LV76 (2017)

LOCATION: Fraser River, Mission, British Columbia

Case number: 120-713-R

The Incident
On March 24, 2017, the former USCG Lightship LV76 sunk in the Fraser River, British Columbia, and was leaking oil. The location of the incident was at a former sawmill, at which site other decommissioned and derelict vessels were also secured. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Environmental Response (CCGER) and the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) attended the site for the oil pollution response. Containment boom was deployed around the vessel and the area of upwelling, and sorbent materials were utilized within the contained area. The LV76 was not considered to be a hazard to navigation in its position; however, since oil had continued to emerge from it and the volume of hydrocarbons on board had not been confirmed, CCG issued tenders to raise it.

On April 30, divers commenced work to prepare the vessel for refloating, but the raising and refloating operation encountered numerous difficulties. WCMRC was in attendance throughout the operation to deploy and maintain sorbent booms and materials in an effort to recover the oil that was upwelling from the LV76 whenever it was moved.

On May 12, 2017, the bow of the vessel was hoisted whilst the stern still laid on the bottom. Due to the heavy weight of the LV76, the heavy lift crane Arctic Tuk was not able to hoist the entire vessel off the bottom. While approximately 50% of the vessel’s main deck was above the water surface, divers continued efforts to plug submerged openings in the hull and pumps were deployed to dewater the hull. Despite efforts to seal the hull with additional pumps, the vessel did not rise any further.

However, throughout the operation, CCG recovered oil leaking from various ports and hatches and while the vessel was partially raised, was able to gain access to the fuel tank fill and vent and to pump out any remaining oil. CCG no longer considering the vessel to be a threat to cause significant pollution, the refloating operation was discontinued and the LV76 was lowered to the bottom and marked with a buoy.

Measures taken by the Administrator
The Administrator engaged a marine expert to attend the site of the incident and to monitor the raising and refloating operation.

The Claim
No claim has been filed with the Administrator.

Status
The file remains open.