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For Immediate Release


April 18, 2008

Ministry of Environment




VICTORIA – The British Columbia government and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans will salvage critical pieces of wreckage from Robson Bight following the August 2007 barge incident, Environment Minister Barry Penner and federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Loyola Hearn announced today.


            “Working in co-operation with the federal government, we have determined that this is the best way to proceed,” said Penner. “As with any salvage operation, there will be risks involved but we want to retrieve the equipment as soon as possible while minimizing potential impacts to orcas and other wildlife.”


            Recent video footage of the sunken equipment in Robson Bight Ecological Reserve shows that the vehicles are mostly upright and relatively undamaged, and do not appear to be leaking.


            “Recognizing how ecologically sensitive Robson Bight is, it’s important for our two levels of government to work together, so we can remove the major risk of future pollution in Robson Bight from the barge incident,” said Hearn. “We will consult with experts to determine the best approach to minimize the potential risk of this salvage operation.”


            The B.C. Ministry of Environment contracted with technical experts to provide additional analysis of the equipment in Robson Bight. This helped the two levels of government assess the risks posed by the equipment and identify options for its mitigation.


            Those analyses included a look by Environment Canada at the possible effects if any of the remaining petroleum products are released, and reviews by other experts to further assess the condition and stability of the tanker sitting on the seabed. The partners then reviewed the experts’ findings before determining next steps. Operational details of the salvage operation will be released shortly.


            On Aug. 20, 2007 a barge carrying vehicles and forestry equipment foundered, dumping 11 pieces of equipment inside the boundary of the protected area.





Kate Thompson

Ministry of Environment

250 953-4577

250 889-7972 (cell)

Dan Bate

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

604 775-8809

604 209-6225 (cell)


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