Paul Sobey took this photograph of logs washed ashore in Chance Harbour, N.S.

The cleanup of thousands of pulp logs dumped from a barge that ran aground in the Northumberland Strait 12 days ago expanded Monday.

People around Chance Harbour, Pictou County, said their area was being ignored by clean up crews and they could not get anyone to take responsibility.

Anticosti Forest Products, the company that owns the wood, reacted quickly after resident Paul Sobey released photographs showing the logs had drifted 20 kilometres east of the grounding to Chance Harbour.

The images show logs littering beaches and coves much farther down the coast than expected.

The 100-metre Sault au Cochon barge was carrying 6,400 tonnes of wood, machinery and oil when it ran aground on a reef in the Northumberland Strait. High winds snapped the tow line between the barge and the tugboat Florence M.

A small amount of oil has been cleaned up, but the 2.5 metre logs are still washing onshore or bobbing in the strait, where they could be a navigation hazard. 


The barge aground just outside Pictou harbour may be moved on the weekend. (CBC)

Anticosti promised to pick up its wood from the water but Sobey, the chief executive of the grocery chain that bears his family's name, questioned why the cargo sailed in the first place, given the poor weather forecast.  

"The shipping of that product from the distance they moved it, in those type of conditions, was that a reckless act?" he asked Friday. "I'm not a lawyer, but it needs to be asked. It was one of the roughest storms we had and it was an extended period of time."

Thousands of Nova Scotians lost power during the Nov. 10 storm that caused the barge to run aground near Pictou.

Blair McKeil owns McKeil Marine, the company that supplied the barge to transport the wood from Quebec to Abercrombie, N.S. He said it was not unusual to have barges working at this time of year.

"There's still vessels trading at this time of year to Newfoundland and different places. We just got caught in a bad weather front," he said. "You're aware of the flooding. I think we just ended up in an unprecedented storm."

Sobey's photographs prompted Anticosti to move a fishing boat to Chance Harbour to try and retrieve the logs.

The company has recovered about half the lost cargo, leaving about 2,000 tonnes onshore or still in the water. The barge is still in the water.