Florida company to investigate BC shipwreck

The federal government has awarded a $7-million contract to Resolve Marine Group of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to do a technical assessment of the MV Schiedyk.

The more than 50-year-old shipwreck near Bligh Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island was confirmed to be the source of several reports of sheen observed in the Zuciarte Channel and Nootka Sound in the fall of 2020.

The MV Schiedyk is a 147-metre (483 ft) cargo ship that sank on January 3, 1968 after striking a submerged ledge. The shipwreck is located 106 to 122 metres (350 to 400 ft) below the surface. Since early December 2020, the Canadian Coast Guard and its partners have been containing the upwelling of oil and protecting the nearby cultural and ecological sensitive areas as a precaution.

The Canadian Coast Guard, B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation are jointly managing the response with a virtual Incident Command Post. The technical assessment performed by Resolve Marine Group will help inform the plan to address the pollution leaking from the vessel.

Resolve Marine Group has extensive international experience with complex emergency salvage and response, and is scheduled to arrive on-site and begin work in mid-April 2021.

It will be supported by Canadian subcontractors. The Canadian-registered Atlantic Condor vessel will act as the operations platform, an oceaneering company from Newfoundland and Labrador will provide Remote Operated Vehicle support, and other local marine companies will contribute to the project. 

Technical assessment

This technical assessment will involve three tasks: The first is to seal leaks on the vessel; the second is to conduct an assessment of the hull; the third is to conduct an assessment to verify tank locations and the existence of oil in compartments. This information will provide a more accurate picture of the ship’s condition and its threat to the marine environment. It will also assist with informing the next steps.

All partners will work together to protect the ecologically diverse Nootka Sound and the abundant marine species found in the area.

Updates on the ongoing incident response to address the shipwreck is available at www.spillresponsebc.ca