The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Cape Roger on Sunday took samples of small amounts of oil on the surface of the ocean near the shipwreck Manolis L in Notre Dame Bay.
Officials with the Canadian Coast Guard prepare a neoprene gasket aboard the Anne Harvey, which was lowered to the sunken Manolis L to prevent an oil leak in May.
— Submitted photo
On Friday the Coast Guard received a report of an oil sheen on the ocean surface in the vicinity of the sunken vessel. The report was confirmed by a Transport Canada surveillance flight over the area that stated the light oil sheen on the water consisted of approximately one litre of oil.
The Manolis L sank in 1985 during a storm in an area known as Blow Hard Rock — between Bacalao Island and Change Islands — and lies 82 metres below the surface. Oil leaking from the ship became a concern last winter and spring.
This latest report came a day after Coast Guard Environmental Response was on the site and used an underwater ROV to carry out a scheduled survey of the hull of the Manolis L. That inspection found that neoprene seals installed last spring were holding and the coffer dam installed during the summer was working properly.
In May, Coast Guard attached a weighted neoprene gasket to the ship's hull which successfully sealed one oil leak. A new crack was later found 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 June 27 showed a small, marble-sized drop of oil originating from the crack. Due to the position and nature of the bow crack, that oil seep could not be sealed using a neoprene gasket, thus the coast guard installed the 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.
The coast guard says it will continue to monitor and manage the Manolis L site including assessing the latest information. Further aerial surveillance flights are planned for this week, weather permitting, and samples taken from the surface will be analyzed to determined if they are from the wreck or some other source.
No oiled birds or marine animals were seen in the area. A sound-emitting device to keep waterfowl and other marine animals away from the area os still in place near the site.