OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 26, 2016) - The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, issued the following statement today concerning the sunken tugboat at Bella Bella:

"I am pleased to confirm that oil pumping from the Tug Nathan E. Stewart has been completed. The Unified Command led by the Canadian Coast Guard, and including members from the Heiltsuk First Nation and other partners, will now focus its efforts on next steps including the salvage operation to remove the tug from the water. The Incident Command Post, which was established in the Heiltsuk First Nation community, will continue operations and marine monitoring activities until further notice. Shoreline cleanup crews have also been mobilized and already begun efforts to remediate the affected areas.

In addition to Canadian Coast Guard personnel and resources that are on scene in command of the emergency and environmental response, experts from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other federal, provincial and local stakeholders, are coordinating efforts in monitoring and testing the shoreline, local clam beds and other sea life for evidence of pollution, in order to mitigate or repair any damage caused to the surrounding marine life.

The Canadian Coast Guard and their partners have worked diligently throughout the environmental response and continue to do so. In addition, all efforts are being made to identify and address any long-term effects this incident may have caused. The Government of Canada will remain on site even after the salvage operation is completed to ensure that any effects of pollution are properly dealt with. I acknowledge that more needs to be done to improve marine safety, and I am committed to continuing this work with Minister Garneau to fulfill this mandate. We remain committed to sharing the results of the ongoing environmental testing on the surrounding marine environment and wildlife, and will keep updating the Heiltsuk First Nation and the public with new information as it becomes available."

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Contact Information:

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Sebastien Belliveau
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada