The Canadian Coast Guard plans to clean up a leaking U.S. transport vessel that went down off the British Columbia coast following the Second World War.

The Brigadier General M.G. Zalinski ran aground and sank during a storm in 1946 in the Grenville Channel, which is about 100 kilometres south of Prince Rupert.

Approximate location of Zalinski wreck

The coast guard has been monitoring the wreck since it was discovered a decade ago that oil leaking from the ship was making it to the ocean's surface.

A remote-control underwater vehicle found the Zalinski 34 metres down, upside down on the edge of a cliff on the ocean floor.

The agency had the ship patched by underwater divers, but experts say the vessel has continued to deteriorate and the oil needs to be removed to protect the environment.

A request for proposals was issued today, for a salvage operation expected to take three months at the end of this year.

The Coast Guard says use of the heavily-trafficked and narrow Grenville Channel will be monitored and restricted during the recovery effort.