Keith Laidlaw, a spokesperson with the Coast Guard, confirms what several Coast readers reported this morning: an oil "sheen" spread from the sunken dry dock at Halifax shipyard, under the Macdonald Bridge, and all the way to Dartmouth.
Laidlaw characterized the spill as "a small amount, maybe two microns thick" and said it would be "impossible" to clean up. People on land in Dartmouth would not notice the oil washing ashore, he said.
Laidlaw would not speculate on how much oil was involved, but said it likely came from a diesel generator on the deck of the dry dock. "It was probably diesel oil, compression oil, motor oil," he said.
Irving placed booms around the sunken dry dock and is presently absorbing any additional oil coming off the dry dock at site. It's unclear why containment booms were not placed around the vessel Sunday, after the dry dock sank.
The following is a news release from the Irving Company, owners of Halifax Shipyard:
On Saturday May 8th at approximately 10AM during the docking of a new tug boat, the floating "Scotia Dock" at the Halifax Shipyard continued to submerge prior to a docking. The tug was safely removed from the dock without incident. There were no injuries.
· The dock is stabilized in about 51 feet of water. Divers have been working to assess the situation and experts have been on scene since Sunday.
· Currently the plan to re-float the dock is being finalized and will be put into action as soon as possible.
· Halifax Shipyard is working to contain and remove a small amount of diesel fuel which escaped through a pressure release valve on the submersible dock’s diesel tank this morning.
- Crews successfully plugged the vent to prevent any further fuel from escaping and will continue to monitor the situation.
· As soon as the sheen was detected, two additional absorbent booms were immediately added to the containment boom already in the water, and absorbent pads were used inside and outside the boom to soak up the fuel.
- The sheen has since dissipated; all three booms remain in the water, and will be monitored on a 24/7 basis.
· Coast Guard officials were on the scene today monitoring the situation from the water.
- Environment Canada Officials visited the site today, assessed the situation, reviewed Halifax Shipyard’s response and recommended no further action be taken.