The Heiltsuk Nation says it’s relieved that a U.S. tug and its fully laden fuel barge have left their waters along the central coast.
The Jake Shearer and its barge with its 12.5 million litres of diesel and gasoline found safe harbour near Bella Bella Monday night after becoming separated in a storm just off the rocky coastline last Sunday afternoon.
Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett says only a single anchor deployed by two crew members who made it aboard the barge prevented the separated vessel from slamming into shore and spilling its cargo.
“We intend to make sure other vessels like it are regulated out of our waters for good,” says Chief Slett in a news release. “Indigenous communities bear the highest risk from marine shipping incidents, and it’s time for our deep local knowledge and stewardship ethic to drive marine emergency response in the region”.
Three weeks ago, the Heiltsuk issued a report analyzing past incidents on the central coast and proposing the creation of an Indigenous Marine Response Centre to improve marine safety safeguard the environment.
The Jake Shearer was reported at dock in Ketchikan, Alaska Sunday afternoon.