Vancouver emergency crews are responding to a toxic fuel spill in English Bay.
Port Metro Vancouver's operations centre received several reports, just after 5 p.m. on April 8, of an oily sheen on the water at English Bay. Their harbour patrol crew confirmed the situation and reported it to the Canadian Coast Guard, who are now working with the West Coast Marine Response Corporation to handle the situation.
The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Police Department, and Transport Canada are all also responding to the situation.
The oily substance was identified as bunker fuel (or residual fuel oil).
The spill surrounded a grain ship Marathassa (flying a Cyprus flag) anchored in deep water off Vancouver, according to a CBC report. A boom has been placed around the ship to contain the spill.
However, the ship has not been confirmed as the source of the spill. Five other ships surround the vessel.
Although beaches remain open, the City of Vancouver warned citizens that the oil spill is toxic and should not be touched.
They have also received offers from citizens who want to help clean it up but warn there are health risks and have trained staff to deal with the situation.
Wildlife experts and biologists are also assessing the impact on the local wildlife population.
Ducks and other seabirds were swimming in and around the waters where the fuel was spreading.
The fuel had reached the shore at English Bay and the area between English Bay and Second Beach near Stanley Park. A light smell of oil was perceptible at the beach.
It has also been reported to be washing up on Kitsilano Beach.
Meanwhile, anti-tanker activists are also commenting on the situation.
“This is a scary reminder of the potential nightmare scenario of what could happen if there’s increased tanker traffic along our coast,” Tanker Free BC executive director Ben West stated in a news release.
According to Tanker Free BC, the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project "would see an increase from the current 80 tankers a year to over 400 tankers a year carrying primarily tar sands bitumen which is more likely to sink in the marine environment potentially causing significant harm."