Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Fuel truck taised From Robson Bight

May 20, 2009

SOINTULA, B.C. -  At 3:00 p.m. yesterday, the fuel truck potentially loaded with approximately 10,000 litres of diesel was successfully recovered from Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. In August 2007 the fuel truck, along with 10 other pieces of equipment, tipped from a barge being towed through Robson Bight which is critical habitat for orca whales.

“One of the largest threats to the orcas that frequent Robson Bight has now been removed,” said Oonagh O’Connor, Energy Campaign Manager for Living Oceans Society. “It took a lot of leadership and determination to make this happen and we congratulate the Governments of British Columbia and Canada for mounting the successful recovery operation to raise the fuel truck.”

A large casing was put around the fuel truck to ensure that any spilled fuel would be contained during the lifting procedure. As the truck was lifted, no oil was seen on the surface. On May 16, phase one of the recovery was also successful when a container filled with an estimated 1,200 liters of hydraulic oil was raised from a depth of 350 meters. A slight oily sheen was present after the hydraulic fuel was lifted but it was dealt with quickly and within an hour there was no sign of it.


Living Oceans Society supports the governments’ decision to provide the upfront funding to remove the pollution sources, but ultimately it is up to the polluters to pay for the recovery operation and we remain hopeful that the companies involved will  accept responsibility and pay for the salvage operation. 

Ultimately the entire accident could have been avoided if we had stronger regulations on shipping. “To avoid this type of accident, Transport Canada must create and enforce regulations ensuring that the contents of barges be secured to the barge,” O’Connor said. ”We also want to see increased and regular inspections to ensure the seaworthiness of the barges. Only by stronger regulations can we ensure this does not happen again.”

Living Oceans Society would also like to see a shipping plan for the coast that assesses the risks associated with shipping, and a strategy to ensure that commercial shipping cannot enter Robson Bight and others sensitive coastal areas.

Robson Bight is an ecological reserve created to protect vital habitat for B.C.’s Northern Resident orca community who are  listed as “threatened” under Canada’s Species At Risk Act.


Contact Information

For more information contact Oonagh O’Connor 250-230-6580