Crews have pumped about a third of the diesel from a leaking, grounded tug near Bella Bella, with a storm expected to hit the site Tuesday night.
But as cleanup work continues, Chief Marilyn Slett of the local Heiltsuk First Nation says communication with the Federal Government has been disappointing at best.
“We’ve been trying to connect with Transport Canada and I do know they have more of an inspection person here, but you know we certainly have a lot of questions for Transport Canada, and I believe I heard they might be coming up. So that communication aspect has been frustrating.”
And she says officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have been few and far between.
“DFO Just recently came onto the scene, they were largely absent. They just got here yesterday, within the command centre. Day one they made it out there close to dinner time.”
On Monday, Transport Minister Mark Garneau issued a statement of concern and appointed a “minister’s observer” to the incident.
The Heiltsuk First Nation says it’s considering legal action against the U.S. company whose tug ran aground in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
The Nathan E. Stewart hit bottom off Althone Island west of Bella Bella around 1 a.m. Thursday morning, loaded with around 200,000 litres of diesel fuel and pushing an empty fuel barge.
Slett says while the Nation is still surveying the extent of the damage, conversations have already begun about making a case against the vessel’s owners, Texas-based Kirby Offshore.
She says the Nation’s economy is set to take a massive hit, after fisheries officials closed the area due to chemical contamination.