Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

October 08, 2015 18:41 ET

Statement: Northern Quebec Fuel Spill

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 8, 2015) - The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) was notified late October 7 and immediately responded to a fuel spill near the community of Salluit, West of Ungava Bay, in Northern Quebec. The M/T Sarah Desgagnés was transferring fuel to the community of Salluit in preparation for the winter months ahead. Strong winds and snow required the transfer be stopped for safety reasons. Following the standard emergency disconnect process, the fuel line was severed by the vessel's propeller. At that time, the fuel transfer had already stopped. Current estimates are around 3,000 litres of fuel spilled.

Local governments and other partners were immediately informed and the CCGS Terry Fox was on-site at 08:30 local time October 8 to assist in initial assessments and any clean-up activities. Impacts to the shoreline, fish and wildlife in the area are being assessed by Environment Canada. At this time, the risk is low but as a precautionary measure, and to address any potential impact on clams/mussels since there is a subsistence harvest, the community of Salluit has issued an advisory notice to residents not to conduct harvesting activities near the area until further notice. The fuel discharged in the water is expected to dissipate quickly. No observable sheen has been seen around the M/T Sarah Desgagnés.

The Canadian Coast Guard is working with its partners and remains committed to leading solid and concerted efforts to protect the safety of Canadians and our environment from the effects of this spill. The CCG is well prepared for this type of incident and is ready to deploy environmental response equipment from the CCGS Terry Fox, as needed. Further, as part of its monitoring activities, the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) at Transport Canada will fly to the region affected today.

Under Canada's Marine Pollution Preparedness and Response Regime, managed by Transport Canada, the polluter is always responsible for paying the cost of an oil spill cleanup, including third party damages. This means that if a ship causes a spill, its owner is liable for losses and damages. The M/T Sarah Desgagnés is taking responsibility and taking appropriate measures to respond to the incident.

I would like to thank our partners and the community for their assistance and support and we will continue to engage all levels of government, stakeholders, communities and Aboriginal groups.

Canada has one of the strongest safety regimes in the world. The Canadian Coast Guard remains committed to working with its federal partners to ensure the safety of Canadians in our waters and protecting our marine environments

Greg Lick

Director General, CCG Operations


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  • Kevin Hill