Nova Scotia

Navy fuel spill in Halifax harbour tops 8,000 litres

Wednesday's leak happened during routine procedure onboard HMCS St. John's

Posted: May 09, 2013
Last Updated: May 09, 2013

Environment Canada says the spill should have minimal impact. (CBC)

A spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Navy says a cleanup of thousands of litres of diesel spilled in Halifax harbour should be complete Friday afternoon.

The fuel leaked off of HMCS St. John’s Wednesday morning while it was being transferred between two tanks, said Lt.-Cmdr. Bruno Tremblay.

He called it a routine procedure that is done often to stabilize vessels in preparation of refueling later in the day. Fuel is consolidated to minimize the number of tanks that need to be refuelled.

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But Wednesday, something went wrong, and between 8 – 10,000 litres of fuel poured into Halifax harbour.

Tremblay said the Navy will now try to determine exactly what happened. Investigators will also make suggestions to prevent future spills.

Clean up ongoing

Tremblay said they hope to finish cleanup efforts by Friday afternoon, but crews were stalled Thursday by heavy fog.

The frigate is anchored near Dartmouth Cove, directly across from downtown Halifax.

He said some of the diesel evaporated naturally, creating a powerful smell in the area. Crews will use equipment to absorb the rest.

Twenty people were involved in the cleanup Thursday on four boats, using various techniques to remove the fuel from the water.

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Environment Canada has crews monitoring their efforts. It said in a statement that the incident "should have a minimum environmental impact."

There’s no timeline for Navy investigators to complete their report.