Commodore Buck Zwick, Commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy, addressed the media on Sunday at CFB Esquimalt. (Facebook/Maritime Forces Pacific)

Naval ship spills 30,000 litres of fuel in the strait east of Nanoose Bay

Department of National Defence co-ordinating spill response, investigating cause

A naval vessel spilled 30,000 litres of fuel while traveling along the Strait of Georgia on Saturday.

The F76 type fuel was released from HMCS Calgary, a Halifax frigate, between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. during a re-fueling operation, the Ministry of Environment said. This type of fuel is similar to kerosene and quickly evaporates.

“The spill was reported to have started near Parksville and ended approximately 100km southeast, just west of Tsawassen.”

No sheen was observed, the ministry said in a statement online. Environment Canada has also determined there would “likely be no impact” to the shoreline.

“Environment Canada calculations predicted a quick dispersion of the fuel due to sea conditions and the continuous movement of the vessel during the release.”

Teams from the Department of National Defense will continue searching the sea and shoreline for signs of fuel, and BC Ferries, Harbour Air and the public have also been alerted to look to signs of the spill and report them to the Maritime Forces Pacific’s Regional Joint Operations Centre at 250-363-5848.

The navy said it is co-ordinating with Environment Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada and B.C. Emergency Management and has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the spill.

National Defence is responsible for the environmental response and cleanup with support from the coast guard.

“The fuel response is still in its initial stages,” a release Sunday from Maritime Forces said. “As the situation progresses, it will become clearer as to the timeline for any required spill cleanup.

“As it relates to impact on fisheries or local marine life in the area, at this point, it is too early to tell, but the impact will be evaluated and appropriate actions taken if necessary.”

Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges at Nanoose Bay near Nanaimo are on alert and B.C. Ferries and Harbour Air seaplanes have also been asked to keep an eye out for the spill.

Anyone who has seen signs of the spill is asked to call the Regional Joint Operations Centre at 250-363-5848.

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