A fuel tanker carrying 9.5 million litres of diesel in the Northwest Passage was finally dislodged early Wednesday from a sandbar it had been stuck on for the past two weeks.
The MV Nanny, owned by Newfoundland-based Woodward’s Oil Ltd., had been stuck on the sandy and muddy shoal since it ran aground on Sept. 1 in Simpson Strait, about 50 kilometres southwest of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut.
A two-day operation to dislodge the beached tanker succeeded around 3 a.m. local time on Wednesday, when a second tanker pumped out enough of the Nanny’s diesel cargo to make it float off the sandbar, according to officials with the Nunavut government, which contracted Woodward’s Oil to transport the fuel.
At no time did any diesel spill into the Northwest Passage, according to the coast guard, which has been monitoring the tanker. Transport Canada is investigating how the tanker ran aground.
Vessel off course
“What we’ll be looking at [is] conducting a review to ensure that vessel operations were and remain in compliance with the Canada Shipping Act and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act,” Desmond Raymond, Transport Canada’s Prairie and northern regional director of marine operations, told CBC News on Wednesday.
The MV Nanny was transporting annual diesel fuel shipments to remote western Nunavut communities when it ran off course and hit the sandbar.
The second Woodward’s Oil tanker, the MV Tuvaq, was dispatched from Iqaluit to Simpson Strait, which is part of the Northwest Passage, to help lighten the MV Nanny’s load by pumping out upward of five million litres of diesel.
As part of the operation, which began Monday, a hose connecting the two vessels was run across the surface of the water.
The MV Nanny is expected to reach Gjoa Haven late Wednesday night. There, a scuba diver will inspect the vessel’s hull to ensure the tanker can continue transporting fuel through the Northwest Passage.