Crews begin patchwork on leaking Bligh Island shipwreck off Vancouver Island coast

Crews begin patchwork on leaking Bligh Island shipwreck off Vancouver Island coast
A shipwreck from 1968 began leaking oil in Zuciarte Channel last September. Damage to the nearby shoreline and animals said to be minimal.

Work is officially underway to patch up the leaking wreckage of a cargo ship that sank in 1968 near Bligh Island on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The Canadian Coast Guard discovered that the M/V Schiedyk had been releasing oil from a depth of about 400 feet towards the end of last year.

The M/V Schiedyk was a 483-foot cargo ship taking a load of wood pulp and bulk barley from Gold River to Portland on January 3, 1968.

However, not far from Gold River, it hit a submerged edge on the south side of Bligh Island and sank.

Bligh Island Incident Commander Paul Barrett says a team of technicians from a Florida-based marine response group was using a remote-operated vehicle on Monday to patch the main area they’ve seen oil leaking out of.

He says the team hopes to pump the remaining fuel out of the wreck after further assessment is complete next month.

The technical assessment of the shipwreck will not only include locating the leaks coming from the hull and applying temporary seals, wherever possible, but also to survey the ship to confirm the location of fuel tanks, assess the hull, depth and position of the ship, and identify any damage as a result of the sinking in 1968.

The Government of Canada awarded a $7-million contract back in March to Resolve Marine Group of Fort Lauderdale, Florida to do the technical assessment.

The assessment of the wreck is expected to be completed by May 6.


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