112-year old tugboat sinks in Squamish, spills diesel fuel

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kirstinr

A 1902-built tug boat sank in Squamish yesterday, spilling up to 1,500 litres of diesel fuel into a channel that feeds into Howe Sound.

Clean-up crews have been on the scene since yesterday with containment booms and absorbants. Officials believe that not all of the fuel from the boat was spilled, and attempts are being made by a dive team to seal the leak.

The spill comes at a time when herring are returning to the shores of Squamish to spawn. However, unlike heavy fuel oils, gasoline and diesel are easily biodegradable and rarely persist in marine environments, although they can remain longer if buried in sediment, soils, groundwater, or marshes where oxygen levels are very low.

The exact condition of the “Elf”, the name of the tugboat, immediately prior to the sinking is not known. Derelict vessels have been a problem for Squamish and as many as a dozen boats have sunk in the same channel.

Attempts will be made to raise the vessel as early as tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image: @Kristinr via Twitter

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