Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Barge flips and sinks, weeks after tug runs aground along B.C.'s central coast

The tugboat Nathan E. Stewart is seen in the waters of the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, B.C., in an Oct. 23, 2016, handout photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heiltsuk First Nation/April Bencze

The Heiltsuk Nation in British Columbia says a barge has flipped and sunk north of the site where a tug that ran aground last month still awaits removal.

A news release from the First Nation says the barge, which was carrying gravel and sand from Seattle, Wash., to Alaska flipped Sunday evening in a channel along B.C.'s central coast.

The 37-metre tugboat that was towing the barge was still afloat Sunday night, and the four crew members were safe.

Story continues below advertisement

A Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson says the tug has been granted permission from Transport Canada to continue its journey north to Alaska while crews remain at the scene of the sunken 65-metre barge.

The sinking comes less than four weeks after the tugboat Nathan E. Stewart ran aground near Bella Bella, spilling diesel fuel into the water.

Sunday's incident happened near Klemtu, which is about 55 kilometres north of Bella Bella.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make an announcement in Vancouver on Monday about how tanker and fuel spills along the West Coast will be responded to in the future.

Heiltsuk member Jess Housty, who is part of the diesel spill response team, says with two incidents involving sinking vessels, Trudeau's promised regulatory changes can't come soon enough.

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at