Nfld. & Labrador

Hibernia remains shut down as support vessels clean up oil spill

Production at the largest offshore platform off Newfoundland continues to be suspended, following a spill earlier this week of 12,000 litres of oil.

Observations from sea and air continue

One of the vessels deployed to cleanup an oil spill that occurred Wednesday at the Hibernia Offshore Platform. (Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board)

Several support vessels were near the largest offshore oil platform off Newfoundland Saturday, as cleanup work continued on an oil spill that suspended production at Hibernia. 

In a statement Saturday night, Hibernia Management and Development Co. (HMDC) said four vessels have been collecting oil.

A mixture of 12,000 litres of oil and water spilled into the ocean on Wednesday.

The company said five third-party wildlife observers were also in the field.

It noted that a report had been made about an oiled bird.

"An attempt was made to recover the bird utilizing a fast rescue craft, however, when the crew reached the area it could not locate the bird," the statement said. 

The report has been related to regulatory authorities, including the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. 

The company said the Seabird Rehabilitation Centre is on standby as a precautionary measure. 

Flyovers continuing

HMDC  said the vessels Atlantic Merlin and the Paul A Sacuta have deployed what are called single vessel side sweep measures. The vessels Atlantic Shrike and the Atlantic Kestrel have also been collecting oil using additional mechanical recovery equipment.

An oil sheen on the surface of the water as seen by a Canadian Coast Guard fly-over on Wednesday afternoon. (Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board)

Observations from the vessels and fly-overs continue.

The company said all platform personnel are safe, and "production remains shut in," as the investigation continues.

Hibernia is owned by a conglomerate of oil companies under the umbrella of HMDC, with the largest partner being ExxonMobil.

This latest offshore spill is the second in the past year, after Husky Energy spilled 250,000 litres of oil into the North Atlantic last November. It was the largest spill in the history of the province's offshore.

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