Island Health issues public advisory to avoid Esquimalt’s Plumper Bay and shoreline
It’s one of the most significant fuel spills in Greater Victoria.
27-thousand litres of diesel fuel dumped into Esquimalt’s Plumper Bay Sunday morning after a barge ran aground.
Island Health is now recommending that the public avoid the water and shoreline and the area has been closed to all fishing.
Esquimalt Chief Andy Thomas stands in front of Plumper Bay.
“They call this our food basket.
So we wanted to get our food basket back, and got set back.”
Generations from Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation gather here.
“I want to make sure the right things are done to ensure that no other harm comes to the fishery in here.”
This barge, owned by Vancouver Pile Driving, broke from its bouy during a windstorm Saturday night, running aground in Plumper Bay.
30,000 litres of diesel fuel spilled into the rich marine waters, 27,000 now recovered.
Focus Wildlife’s Chris Battaglia says the impact on the environment has so far, been minimal.
“Outside the boom, as you can see behind me, there’s been no impact whatsoever on wildlife.
Inside the boom, that’s where we saw three or four individual birds, the one adult and three goslings.”
The Department of Defense acted quickly, working to prevent the spread of the fuel with booms.
Kim Stanley with Vancouver Pile Driving says they expect to have the water cleaned up by Wednesday.
“We’re very optimistic declare the marine environment oil free.
So all the recoverable product will be out of the water.”
The next focus is the shoreline.
Plumper Bay an important coastal ecosystem and valuable habitat for many species of wildlife including shorebirds, mink and sea otters.
This phase of the cleanup may take weeks.
Until further notice, Island Health is recommending the public avoid not only the shoreline of Plumper Bay but all of Esquimalt Waterfront.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada shut down all fishing in Esquimalt Harbour and waters possibly affected by the spill.
Stanley says they’re working hard to ensure the cleanup is complete.
“It’s our company’s philosophy that any spill on the water is a bad one.