A boat sinking in Cowichan Bay has left a sheen of pollution on the water. (submitted)

Boat sinks in Cow Bay leaving sheen of pollution

Coast Guard responds, but finds only one vessel that required assistance

Several vessels in Cowichan Bay broke free from their moorings as a result of recent storms, with one sinking.

Michelle Inbeau, a spokeswoman with the Canadian Coast Guard, said a 35-ft vessel with a speedboat (with an outboard motor) attached to its mooring, sank in 80 feet of water and had to be raised on Dec. 17 and removed from the bay.

She said that when the vessel was brought to the surface, an extensive non-recoverable sheen could be seen on the water, and that an overflight confirmed the sheen had spread.

Inbeau said a “sheen” is a very thin layer of pollutant (less than 0.0002 inches or 0.005 mm thick) floating on the water surface and is the most common form of pollutant seen in the later stages of a spill.

“Sheens dissipate through evaporation and wind and tidal action, and they are usually diesel” she said.

“It spreads out and looks large, but it is such a thin layer that floats on the surface that it can’t be recovered.”

Lori Iannidinardo, the director for Cowichan Bay on the board of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said there should have been a containment boom placed around the sheen to capture as much of it as possible, regardless of how thick it was.

“It’s not just the oil and diesel from this one vessel that concerns me as much as the accumulative impacts on the bay over time as several vessels sink or leak there,” she said.

“It’s a death by 1,000 cuts.”

Inbeau said the majority of the vessels that broke free during the storms were retrieved by their owners and none were at risk to pollute, therefore the Coast Guard did not receive any reports about them.

“The Coast Guard only assisted one owner with retrieving a sailboat,” she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A boat sinking in Cowichan Bay has left a sheen of pollution on the water. (submitted)

Just Posted

Stevenson reflects on her seven years as Chemainus Elementary School principal

Strong community and parent support for the school always evident during her tenure

Drivesmart column: Advisory bike lanes: what should you do?

Imagine a narrow road that has no markings at all used by drivers

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Bantam C3 Capitals clinch playoff banner for Cowichan with clutch run

The Capitals went into the playoffs seeded fourth in the A pool

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Most Read