26 February 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Chad Pawson

Canadian navy ship spills fuel in Strait of Georgia

Officials with the Department of National Defence say one of its vessels in the Strait of Georgia — HMCS Calgary — spilled 30,000 litres of fuel on Saturday morning.

The patrol frigate was sailing in the strait's shipping lanes between Nanaimo and Parksville when the spill occurred, said Commodore Jeff Zwick, commander of the Canadian fleet in the Pacific region.

"We take environmental stewardship very seriously and we're working proactively to address this as quickly as possible,"  Zwick told a news conference at CFB Esquimalt Sunday afternoon.

The spill happened while crews onboard the vessel were transferring fuel internally. Zwick said about 30,000 litres of F-76 fuel was spilled. He said human error was likely a factor, although he noted that the investigation into the cause is still underway.

F-76 is a naval fuel used in compression ignition engines, according to a NATO publication. It's also used in naval gas turbines and ships' boilers for steam raising.

Zwick said the fuel is similar to kerosene, lighter than water and quickly evaporates. "This fuel historically does not provide a significant effect to marine life," he said.

'No slick or sheen'

Tracy Cornforth, who speaks for safety and environment with the Canadian Navy, said it would be unusual for the fuel to remain in the water or combine with sediment in the ocean.

"You don't find any kind of sheen or slick in the marine environment just due to the nature of the fuel and the fact that it readily evaporates so quickly," Conforth told the news conference.

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