Nfld. & Labrador

Coast guard confirms 30,000 litres of fuel spilled by cargo ship off Newfoundland's south coast

The Canadian Coast Guard is reporting that 30,000 litres of heavy fuel has been pumped into the ocean off Newfoundland's south coast, and the cargo ship responsible for the incident is steaming towards St. John's.

MV Alaskaborg headed for St. John's following what's been deemed an accidental fuel spill

Transport Canada has directed the MV Alaskaborg to proceed to port in St. John's after 30,000 litres of heavy fuel was pumped into the ocean off Newfoundland's south coast. (Craft_freighterz/Facebook)

The Canadian Coast Guard is reporting that 30,000 litres of heavy fuel has been pumped into the ocean off Newfoundland's south coast, and the cargo ship responsible for the incident is steaming toward St. John's.

Transport Canada has directed the MV Alaskaborg to proceed to port in St. John's, and the coast guard ship Ann Harvey is monitoring its progress, a coast guard official wrote in a statement to CBC News late Friday afternoon.

"We continue to work with the owner on the development of an appropriate response plan to ensure a reasonable and appropriate response to the pollution incident," the statement reads.

Federal officials confirmed Friday morning that an "accidental pollution incident" had occurred in the waters off the south coast of Newfoundland.

By Friday afternoon, the coast guard said the ship's fuel tank was punctured during heavy sea conditions, allowing some 30,000 litres of fuel to leak into the ship's bilge. The oil-water mix was then pumped overboard.

The Alaskaborg is a 143-metre ship built in China in 2012, and is owned by a company called Royal Wagenborg, which is headquartered in the Netherlands.

The vessel was transiting between Baie-Comeau, Que., and the Dutch city Rotterdam at the time of the incident. 

According to a statement from the company, the spill was discovered after daylight Thursday morning and the incident was immediately reported to authorities in Canada and the Netherlands.

Initially, the ship was ordered to stop in its position some 100 nautical miles south of Cape Race.

No injuries were reported, and the source of the leak has been stopped.

The company described the spill as an "unintentional outflow," has offered its full co-operation, and pledged to take measures to mitigate any further environmental damage.

Royal Wagenborg has been ordered to provide a response plan, and the owner has also engaged a Transport Canada-certified spill response company, according to the coast guard.

"Our highly trained environmental response specialists are monitoring to ensure the owner conducts an appropriate response to mitigate the risk to the marine environment," the statement reads.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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