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A cargo ship that sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island more than 50 years ago is now polluting the waters of a popular marine park.

The Canadian Coast Guard says a fuel-like sheen was investigated in September and was thought to be bilge discharge from a ship, but the problem continued and a deeper look uncovered the historic wreckage.

The MV Schiedyk left Gold River, B.C., with a load of wood pulp and barley on its way to Oregon on Jan. 3, 1968, and hours later hit a ledge off Bligh Island, which is now a provincial marine park.

Tyler Yager, the deputy superintendent for environment response at the coast guard, says they know the ship was carrying bunker fuel and diesel, but they don’t know how much was released at the time.

Yager says more than 3,000 metres of boom has been placed around sensitive areas of the island to protect it and oil recovery skimming ships are on the water.

The coast guard is working with the B.C. Environment Ministry, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and local First Nations to mitigate the impacts of the oil in the area.

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