British Columbia

Vancouver oil spill affects at least 30 birds

In its latest public update, the Canadian Coast Guard says there are approximately 10 litres of bunker fuel left in English Bay after an estimated spill of 2,800 litres Wednesday.

Affected birds found mainly in Vanier Park pond

One of at least 30 birds covered in oil following a major spill of crude in English Bay April 8, 2015. (Wildlife Rescue Association)

In its latest public update, the Canadian Coast Guard says there are approximately 10 litres of bunker fuel left in English Bay after an estimated spill of 2,800 litres Wednesday.

In a separate release the City of Vancouver says all the oil that can be removed from the ocean has been recovered. Now an assessment will determine how much bunker fuel from the April 8 spill has sunk.

Meanwhile at least 30 birds have been found covered in oil.

About 40 kilometres of shoreline around English Bay, and in North and West Vancouver have been assessed for oil. So far only 1.5 kilometres have been deemed clean.

"We're not done yet and I don't think we'll be done, certainly not this weekend," said Roger Girouard, assistant commissioner with the Canadian Coast Guard. "We'll be here until we get this done."

Girouard says for now, the south shore has been assessed as clean, but that could quickly change if more bunker fuel washes ashore. 

A major effort is now being made at Sandy Cove in North Vancouver, where fuel has washed up.

The city says work is underway at Siwash Rock in Stanley Park as well. Contamination was also found at New Brighton Beach near the Second Narrows Bridge, which will need more cleaning.

In its latest public update, the Canadian Coast Guard says there are approximately 10 litres of bunker fuel left in English Bay after an estimated spill of 2,700 litres Wednesday.

Vancouver continues to deploy trained volunteers to monitor the city shoreline to "ensure we can utilize the federal resources available for clean-up."

A worker cleaning rocks at Second Beach uses a special cloth to remove oil. (Richard Lam)

The Coast Guard and the province are defending why it took so long for the shoreline cleanup to begin.

Both organizations say an assessment of fuel in the water needed to be done first. Now that much of the spill has been accounted for, they say the clean-up of beaches and shoreline has begun in earnest.

Wildlife experts are also busy trying to capture and clean 30 birds, most of which were found in a pond at Vanier Park.

"Why in a pond?" said Girouard. "Well they're out in salt water, got some oil, brought it back to the pond and have been sighted by concerned citizens and in fact we've got wildlife [workers] looking at that now."

"That's not a quick capture, you don't just tell the bird come here I want to give you a shower and so the professionals are doing the things they have to, to get those birds into the clean-up process that they require."

Girouard says he expects the numbers of wildlife impacted by the spill to probably increase.

The Canadian Coast Guard says it's trying to figure out how to remove the oil-soaked boom from around the Marathassa in English Bay. (Richard Lam/CBC)

Meanwhile, crews are also trying to figure out how to remove the oil-soaked boom from around the Marathassa.

​The hull has a bath-tub ring around it. It's black oil," said Girouard.

"She remains wrapped in what is now a soiled boom and we're going through the process of looking at that site, the hull, the boom...as the wind comes along there is actually oil that comes off that boom and moves along."

The Coast Guard and its partner agencies are also considering the use of divers or submersibles to search for bunker fuel that may have sunk in English Bay.

The Coast Guard and the City of Vancouver are asking the public to allow professionals to conduct the cleanup, but do want residents to report oil or affected wildlife they find.

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