Nathan E. Stewart (2016)

LOCATION: Bella Bella, British Columbia

Case number: 120-697-R

The Incident
On October 13, 2016, the tug Nathan E. Stewart ran aground, sunk and was leaking fuel at the entrance to Seaforth Channel, near Bella Bella, BC, whilst pushing barge DBL 55. The tug contained approximately 59,924 gallons of diesel fuel and up to 2,700 gallons of oil when the incident occured. Hot tapping operations were carried out to remove hydrocarbons from the tug. Besides, the sunk tug was boomed and sorbent materials were used to recover hydrocarbons from within the boomed off areas. The oil recovery operations were impaired by inclement weather conditions.

The barge, which was empty of cargo at the time of the incident, separated from the tug and was moved to a safe anchorage. No oil was escaping from the barge.

A Unified Command and Incident Management Team was stood up at Heiltsuk Nation tribal Council Chambers to respond to the incident.

On December 2017, a report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Marine Accident indicated that the probable cause of the grounding was the second mate falling asleep while on watch, and contributing to the grounding was the ineffective implementation of the company’s safety management system procedures for watchstanding.

Measures taken by the Administrator
On October 15, 2016, the Administrator was advised by the Canadian Coast Guard about the incident and  retained a local marine expert to enquire about it and to help evaluate the amount of security that the Administrator was to require from the shipowner.

On December 16, 2016, the Administrator received an executed LOU as a security for the shipowner’s liability.

The Claim
No claim has been filed with the Administrator.

The file remains open.