Breakaway barge carrying millions of litres of fuel to be towed from B.C. to Alaska

BELLA BELLA, B.C. – A British Columbia First Nation is breathing a sigh of relief as a barge carrying millions of litres of fuel was removed from its harbour on the central coast.

The barge broke away from a U.S.-registered tugboat, the Jake Shearer, southwest of Bella Bella last Sunday.

Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett says it’s “terrifying” to consider the damage that could have been caused if a spill occurred.

The barge was carrying 12.5 million litres of diesel and gasoline, which Slett says is four times the volume initially estimated.

Another tugboat was brought in earlier this week to help in completing the tow to Alaska.

The Heiltsuk experienced a significant diesel spill last year when a tug ran aground off the coast, and Slett says she wants vessels regulated out of her community’s waters for good.


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