It’s been more than two weeks since an American tug pushing an empty fuel barge ran aground near Bella Bella.
The Nathan E. Stewart had more than 200,000 litres of fuel when it ran aground 17 days ago.
Salvage crews say they have recovered more than 100,000 litres but that further analysis is needed to give an accurate number.
But on-scene commander with the Heiltsuk First Nation Jess Housty says wildlife is paying the consequences.
“We’ve had reports of a dead sea otter in the vicinity of the sheen, we’ve had reports of dead seals, some of these animals have been collected and sent away for analysis but the issue of impact on wildlife is going to take months and perhaps even years to understand the magnitude of it.”
Unified Command in charge of overseeing the cleanup operation says they’ve collected a few dead animals but that an analysis is needed to know cause of death as they were not “visibly oiled.”
But Housty says more animals are getting close to the spill.
“It makes me heartsick. We are seeing killer whales and humpback whales almost daily at this point in the vicinity of the sheen, we had crews just this morning reporting to me that they’ve seen tons of sea otters in the water.”
— Jess Housty (@heiltsukvoice) October 29, 2016
Houtsy says it could be years before we see the true damage of the spill.
She says rough weather has hampered the efforts to contain the diesel spill. She is concerned it’s only going to get worse as winter approaches.