Underwater video from the Canadian Coast Guard shows an oil droplet leaking from a crack in the bow of the wreck Manolis L in Notre Dame Bay.
Oil from the ship — which sank in an area known as Blow Hard Rock between Bacalao Island and Change Islands in 1985 and lies 82 metres below the surface — has been a concern in the area in recent months.
In May, a weighted neoprene gasket attached to the ship’s hull by the coast guard successfully sealed an oil leak at that time.
The area where this new crack is located is about 100 feet away from the previous leak, in a badly damaged section of the bow. The bow damage occurred when the vessel sank.
Underwater video taken on June 27 shows a small, marble-sized drop of oil — estimated to be one tablespoon — originating from the crack. The crack from where this oil is emanating, is approximately six inches wide at its widest point and extends along the bow into an array of smaller cracks.
Close inspection by the underwater remote operating vehicle (ROV) camera did not show any evidence of large volumes of oil waiting to escape.
The news release from the coast guard notes the steel plating of most of the ship’s hull remains virtually untouched by corrosion. Hull thickness is approximately 1/2 inch to 5/8 inches.
Due to the position and nature of the bow crack, this oil seep cannot be sealed using a neoprene gasket.
On Monday, weather permitting, the coast guard will attempt to install an underwater containment and collection mechanism known as a coffer dam. The coffer dam is similar to an inverted funnel and is designed to trap and collect the oil beads that rise from the hull.