On July 16, 2019, Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC pled guilty to three charges of violating the Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and the Pilotage Act and received fines totally $2.9 million dollars.
On October 13, 2016, the tugboat Nathan E. Stewart ran aground at Edge Reef near Bella Bella, British Columbia, resulting in the release of approximately 107,552 litres (28,412 gallons) of diesel fuel and 2,240 litres (591 gallons) of lubricants). Both substances are considered deleterious to fish and migratory birds. Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC was the owner of the Nathan E. Stewart. The tug boat was travelling from Ketchikan, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia. The documents from the Transportation Safety Board showed that salvage divers attempted to stop the diesel oil in the tug and from leaking into the surrounding waters and removed approximately 119,000 litres of diesel oil and lubricants. Shoreline clean-up and assessment documents apply to approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline.
The company was fined $2.7 million dollars under the Fisheries Act representing the largest fine imposed for one single spill incident by the Government of Canada arising from the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish. The company was also fined $200,000 under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 2994 for depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds, and $5,000 for failing to comply with the pilotage requirements under the Pilotage Act.
The Fisheries Act and Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 fines will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund and used towards the conservation of fish and fish habitat in the Central Coast region of British Columbia. The company’s name will also be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
The Environmental Damages Fund is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 1995 to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment.