Surfing on oil

From the Canoe News website.

SQUAMISH, B.C. (CP) - An oil spill fouled the waters of Howe Sound north of Vancouver on Friday, sending surfers scrambling out of the water. Dan Bate, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said the cargo ship Westwood Anette hit a pier at a terminal and a fuel tank burst.

"Coast guard emergency response is being dispatched," Bate said. He said a cleanup company was contracted immediately. The crew arrived and two large holes on the starboard side of the ship were repaired about an hour after it ruptured. "The spill was contained as soon as possible," said Alex Mendes, a spokesman for Ocean Agencies, hired by Westwood Shipping to coordinate the cleanup. Mendes could not say how much oil spilled into the water. "All I can say is we've got about 20 personnel working out in the water with various heavy equipment."

However Squamish RCMP estimated about 50 tons of fuel spilled from the two holes.
"The fuel spill is being pushed by the waves, current and winds into the Squamish Estuary and is affecting the shoreline, marshes and wildlife," said Cpl. Dave Ritchie in a news release. Environmental groups were concerned about the extent of damage sustained to a sensitive bird sanctuary near the shore. "So much work has gone into this estuary. They (bird sanctuaries) are so important, so vulnerable and there are so few on the B.C. coast," said Meg Fellows, president of the Squamish Environmental Conservation Society. "We don't know the extent of the damage but potentially it's devastating," she said.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transportation Safety Board, Canadian Coast Guard, Provincial Emergency Program and Provincial Conservation Officers are conducting a coordinated investigation into the spill.

At least four windsurfers were covered in the sticky, black Bunker fuel but there were no serious injuries. One witness said the slick was quickly pushed by the wind about 500 metres into Howe Sound, the picturesque stretch of water along the highway between Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler. "Lot's of oil. Black," said Brian Thompson, a photographer with the Squamish Chief newspaper. "The waves are bringing it onto the shore so the shoreline is definitely black. The tide is high right now, which is probably making it a lot worse. It's pushing it high on the banks and into the fauna," Thompson said after returning from taking pictures of the scene.

He said the area is popular with windsurfers and police were telling them to get out of the water. "There were a few people that had already been slicked with oil on their boards and their arms and their legs."

According to documents on the Internet, the Westwood Anette is a cargo ship flying Bahamian flag. It was built in Japan in 1987.


Westwood Shipping is part of the US base Weyerhaeuser group, the shipping part has been around since the late 1800s. If I am not mistaken, they have taken over the operations of MacMillian Bloedel forest company in BC.

Here's a quote about their fleet expansion (7 ships) ...

"Working closely with Westwood’s project management team, the Gdynia (g-din-ya) Shipyard in Poland has been contracted to build all seven vessels. In addition, Westwood has contracted Barber Ship Management Company, of Oslo, Norway, as consulting engineers and construction supervisors."

Their website is informative, check it out... I like this "Fun Ship Fact" - Ten officers and 15 crew members spend an average of six months on the ship before taking time off. Yeah that allot of fun. Read more about their fleet.