Photo: The Bligh Island Shipwreck Unified Command

Canada hires Resolve Marine to tackle fuel leak from 50-year-old shipwreck

Canada has awarded a C$7 million contract to Florida-based marine salvage company Resolve Marine Group to do a technical assessment of the wrecked vessel MV Schiedyk.

The more than 50-year old shipwreck near Bligh Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island was confirmed to be the source of several reports of sheen observed in the Zuciarte Channel and Nootka Sound in the fall of 2020.

The MV Schiedyk is a 147-metre cargo ship that sank on 3 January 1968 after striking a submerged ledge. It is located 106 to 122 metres below the surface.

The Canadian Coast Guard, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation are jointly managing the response with a virtual Incident Command Post.

As explained, the technical assessment performed by Resolve Marine Group will help inform the plan to address the pollution leaking from the vessel.

Resolve Marine is scheduled to arrive on-site and begin work in mid-April 2021. It will be supported by Canadian subcontractors.

The Canadian-registered Atlantic Condor vessel will act as the operations platform, an oceaneering company from Newfoundland and Labrador will provide remote operated vehicle (ROV) support, and other local marine companies will contribute to the project. 

Specifically, the technical assessment will involve three primary tasks: The first is to seal leaks on the vessel; the second is to conduct an assessment of the hull; and the third is to conduct an assessment to verify tank locations and the existence of oil in compartments. This information will provide a more accurate picture of the ship’s condition and its threat to the marine environment. It will also assist with informing the next steps.

All partners will work together to protect the ecologically diverse Nootka Sound and the abundant marine species found in the area.

“Wrecked, abandoned and hazardous vessels pose a serious threat to our natural environment. Working in partnership, our government has removed hundreds of vessels in Canada’s lakes, rivers, and oceans… The Coast Guard will now work with Resolve Marine Group to address the threat posed by the MV Schiedyk to waters off the coast of Vancouver Island. This will help preserve the health and beauty of one of Canada’s most iconic coastlines for generations to come,” Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said.

Since early December 2020, the Canadian Coast Guard and its partners have been containing the upwelling of oil and protecting the nearby cultural and ecological sensitive areas as a precaution.