Jake Shearer, American-owned articulated tug and barge (ATB), is in distress in Heiltsuk waters

Bella Bella, Heiltsuk Territory (November 26, 2017) – Heiltsuk Tribal Council has become aware that Jake Shearer, an American-owned articulated tug and barge (ATB), is in distress in Heiltsuk waters about 2 nautical miles south of Goose Island. The vessel is believed to be carrying a full load of oil products; if so, it may have up to 10,000 tons of fuel on board.

Preliminary reports suggest that the vessel has lost power and dropped the barge’s anchor. We understand that the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid has been tasked with an initial response and expects to reach the stricken vessel around 19:30 with the intention of attaching a tow line. HTC and our stewardship office are in close contact with Prince Rupert Coast Guard to monitor the situation.

This ATB is similar to the Nathan E. Stewart, the tug and barge which ran around in Seaforth Channel last fall, devastating marine resources when it spilled over 100,000 L of diesel. That response was complicated by turbulent coastal weather conditions similar to those we are experiencing tonight.

Heiltsuk vessels, including our Guardian Watchmen, will be on scene as soon it is safe to attend to the situation in local vessels.

This incident highlights the desperate need for Indigenous-led response capacity on the central coast. Heiltsuk will continue to push forward our proposal for an Indigenous Marine Response Centre, and in the meantime, we will provide an update on this developing emergency situation as more information becomes available.

Additional information

  • Photographs of Jake Shearer Incident here
  • Learn more about the Heiltsuk proposal to improve marine incident response capacity here
  • Learn more about the 2017 Nathan E. Stewart grounding / spill here
  • Footage of 2017 Nathan E Stewart spill / aftermath available here
  • Photographs of 2017 Nathan E Stewart spill / aftermath available here

Media contact

To arrange an interview, please call or email:

  • Ph. 604.649.8613
  • E. media@heiltsuk.ca