Oil leak operation deemed successful

Cracks in sunken ship's hull are now sealed, says DFO

Published on May 29, 2013

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokeswoman says operations by the Canadian Coast Guard to seal cracks in the sunken ship Manolis L off Newfoundland are now complete and were successful. 

The bulk carrier ran aground and sank off Fogo Island and Change Island in Notre Dame Bay in 1985.

The DFO spokeswoman said today a weighted neoprene gasket was used to seal the cracks and stop oil from escaping.

"There are two narrow cracks in the hull, one is 12 inches and the other is 22 inches long," she said, in a written update. "The neoprene gasket is held in place by a subsea bulkbag which are industry standard and routinely used in drilling and pipeline operations in the offshore oil industry.   The subsea bulkbags weigh approximately one ton."

After 24 hours no sheen has been detected on the ocean surface and no leak was observed by a ROV dive this morning. 

A Transport Canada surveillance aircraft also confirmed no sheen in the area Tuesday evening.  Another surveillance flight is planned for this afternoon.

DFO says environmental response will now move into a monitoring phase using aerial surveillance on a two to three-day rotation.  The Canadian Coast Guard will conduct another ROV dive at the end of June 2013 to verify integrity of seal.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Environmental Response team will continue to work with partners and other responsible authorities to identify next steps and appropriate longer-term solutions.  

Environmental Response encourages the general public to report any oil sighting to the Environmental Emergencies Line (709) 772-2083 or 1-800-563-9089.

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Earlier Story May 27, 2013)

Weather and operational requirements over the past few days prevented  the Canadian Coast Guard from carrying out work to seal an oil leak in the sunken ship Manolis L. off Newfoundland's coast in the Notre Dame Bay area.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokeswoman says these operations, however, are expected to take place today, conditions permitting.

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(Earlier story)

The Canadian Coast Guard is continuing to work on managing an oil leak from a sunken bulk carrier that ran aground and sank off Fogo Island and Change Island in Notre Dame Bay in 1985.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokeswoman says weighted neoprene gaskets will be used to seal the cracks and stop the oil from escaping the Manolis L. The neoprene gaskets will be held in place by Sub Sea Bulkbags which are industry standard and routinely used in drilling and pipeline operations in the offshore oil industry. 

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Vladykov left St. John’s Wednesday, with the necessary equipment, and the operation is expected to be completed by early next week.

“This approach stops the oil leak and the immediate danger to the environment, fishery and animals while providing the opportunity to consider appropriate next steps,” the DFO spokeswoman said.

The Canadian Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for all ship-source oil spills or pollution incidents in waters under Canadian jurisdiction. In cases where the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond, the Canadian Coast Guard assumes the overall management of the incident as On-Scene Commander (OSC).

The Canadian Coast Guard is working with other departments and partners to manage the oil spill.

 Oiled eiders ducks were spotted in the area of Blow Hard Rock between Bacalhau Island and Change Island in Notre Dame Bay in late March and early April. After investigating, the coast guard determined the source was the Manolis L.

A remotely operated vehicle was sent down near the wreck site and leaks were identified.

The coast guard has set up a voluntary exclusion zone for marine traffic consisting of three buoys in a triangular formation and booms were set to try to recover oil from the ocean surface.

Robert Grant of the Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response Team said the operation is both "complex and dangerous," considering the harsh winds and wave action off the province’s northeast coast.