Two federal ministers have visited the spill site near Bella Bella for the first time since a tug boat ran aground almost three weeks ago.
The Minister for Fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould have flown over the diesel spill with members of the Heiltsuk Nation to gain an insight into the crisis.
It’s the first time they’ve visited the site since the Nathan E. Stewart tug ran aground in the Seaforth Channel on October 13.
On-scene commander with the Heiltsuk First Nation Jess Housty says they ministers should have arrived sooner.
“It’s important for us that people who feel they have decision-making authority with these places understand what’s going on the ground. I understand it’s not often possible for that to happen swiftly and I am grateful that they have come, but you know, it is day 18.”
She says they provided the ministers with recommendations on how to better contain the spill.
“I guided them on an over-flight of the incident site and was able to share with them a little bit about the wreck, the issues that we’ve been experiencing in trying to contain it. I think that they were open to hearing some very frank feedback.”
The Nathan E. Stewart had more than 200,000 litres of fuel when it ran aground and so far, salvage crews estimate about half of that has been recovered.