Kirby Maritime’s tug Nathan E Steward ran aground and partially sank at Edge Reef in Seaforth Channel at Bella Bella Island, Canada. The tug was pushing an empty barge DBL 55 en route from Alaska to Vancouver, but due to severe weather and strong winds grounded into a rocky shallow. The grounding caused sufficient breaches and vessel started getting water ingress, partially sinking. The convoy remain connected and barge was not released, as currently keeping the tug Nathan E Steward afloat. The accident was reported to the local authorities and were dispatched rescue boats and hazmat teams. The tug started leaking and spilled undefined quantity of fuel into the Seaforth Channel. The oil spots were surrounded by oil booms, while the rescue teams are trying to stabilize the tug and prevent it from sinking. All the seven crew members on board were safe and without injuries.
The tug Nathan E Steward had about 50,000 gallons of diesel at the beginning of its trip. Unknown quantity of this fuel spilled into the Seaforth Channel. Light, oily sheen could be seen on the water’s surface and numerous vessels and hazmat teams are trying to handle the situation.
The traffic at Seaforth Channel is hampered, but not blocked. This is heavy traffic area, part of the Voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone, but the troub led tug is small enough that it is permitted to travel within the Inside Passage, even without a pilot on board.
The tug Nathan E Steward is the second vessel of Kirby Maritime, which caused oil spill and environment pollution during the last week. Yesterday, barge towed by company’s tug Capt Jim Green collided with dock at Subsea 7 facility near Port Isabel in South Padre Island, breaching oil tank and causing a spill of 18 tons of low-sulfur diesel fuel in Intercoastal Waterway in Texas, USA.
The tug Nathan E Steward (IMO: 8968210) has overall length of 29.00 m, moulded beam of 10.00 m and maximum draft of 3.70 m. The gross tonnage of the vessel is 302 GRT. The tug was built in 2001 by Hope Services in Dulac, USA.