Canadian Coast Guard Final Update on the Barge Pitts Carillion at Picton Bay, Prince Edward County, Ontario

MONTREAL, Quebec - Beginning March 24, 2017, the Canadian Coast Guard led the environmental response while monitoring and assisting with the salvage operation of a partially-submerged barge in Picton Bay, Prince Edward County, Ontario. The barge, named Pitts Carillion is owned by Galcon Marine and was being chartered by McKeil Marine at the time of the incident. The Pitts Carillion was successfully re-floated April 1, 2017. Following the re-floating of the vessel, fuel tanks and hydraulic tanks were emptied and all hazardous materials on board were removed. Pollution containment booms remained in place as a precaution throughout the recovery. Following Transport Canada’s follow-up inspection of the barge, the vessel was towed out of Picton Bay on April 3, 2017.

Throughout this environmental response, the Canadian Coast Guard worked with the marine response organization ECRC, contracted by McKeil Marine, to further reduce any potential threat of pollution to the surrounding marine environment. McKeil Marine should be commended for taking immediate action at the onset of the incident to ensure that all necessary actions were swiftly and effectively carried out to limit any potential threat to the marine environmental. The Coast Guard also worked, and communicated with officials from the County of Prince Edward, the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory First Nations, other federal Government departments, and the province of Ontario, as required, throughout the operation. This includes the efforts of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change who, with support from the Coast Guard, were responsible for the collection and testing of water samples.

We would like to thank the community of Picton-Bloomfield, the residents of Prince Edward County, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory First Nations and all of our partners for their support and collaboration during this operation. I would also like to extend my utmost gratitude and thanks to the Coast Guard’s Environmental Response personnel, as well as the emergency responders from ECRC, who worked tirelessly to mobilize the people and resources required for a successful environmental response.

Julie Gascon
Assistant Commissioner
Canadian Coast Guard
Central and Artic Region

Background:

On March 24 2017 the Canadian Coast Guard received a report of a barge taking on water at the Picton Terminal, in Picton Bay, Prince Edward County. The barge was empty.

Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel were dispatched from a base in Prescott to the scene to make an initial assessment of the area. They remain on site to continue monitoring for any pollution damage.

The partially submerged barge was boomed off with pollution control equipment. Contracted divers reported that no pollution was coming from the barge. A slight sheen was present on the water and ice; that was non-recoverable. The pollutant released was residual oil. The Canadian Coast Guard deployed personnel and equipment, set up an incident command post and took necessary measures to mitigate the threat of pollution.

We continue to keep municipal officials, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory leaders, and other government partners apprised of the situation. Our immediate priority is to ensure the barge is recovered safely without any further pollution to protect the environment.

McKeil Marine, the operator of the barge, submitted their re-floating plan to the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada, and is thus far carrying out their work with the Response Organisation diligently to the satisfaction of the Canadian Coast Guard.

Original Statement

March 30 2017

The Canadian Coast Guard and ECRC, a certified marine Response Organization, continue to work together to mitigate risks and reduce the threat of pollution to the marine environment at Picton Bay, in Prince Edward County (Ontario). The remaining diesel and oil is located in double-walled, self-contained tanks and the integrity of this section of the hull is not compromised.

The pollutants released on March 24 were comprised of residual oil from another part of the vessel and totaled less than 30 liters. No further release has occurred. The immediate priority is to ensure that the barge is recovered safely without any further pollution.

The Canadian Coast Guard respects the decision of the Mayor of Prince Edward County to declare a water emergency as a precautionary measure, and continue to work with the Mayor and county officials to resolve this incident as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, March 28 the Canadian Coast Guard deployed additional staff and equipment to the site in advance of the recovery lift. This includes over 1200 metres of boom; a floating barrier used to contain spills. The lift is tentatively scheduled for late today (Wednesday, March 29) or early tomorrow (Thursday, March 30). Removing the fuel prior to refloating the barge is assessed as being a higher risk than leaving it in the tanks.

We are working with our partners to ensure that the Municipality and local First Nations continue to be informed.