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The Nathan E. Stewart tugboat, owned by Texas-based Kirby Corporation, ran aground October 13 near the Great Bear Rainforest and Gale Pass carrying 223,831 litres of diesel fuel, as well as thousands of litres of lubricants. Colin Reid, a fisherman from the community, has been pressed into service with his herring skiff, checking the small inlets and beaches for oil and distressed wildlife. He fears the impact of the spill will last for years. Thousands of metres of containment booms now surround the beach in an attempt to prevent oil from drifting in. “It’s a sad sight to see this beach all boomed off. I’ve been harvesting here all my life,” he said. “The impact is devastating.”

An oil spill containment boom surrounds the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat in the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, British Columbia.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Barges from Seattle, Vancouver and Prince Rupert organized by Western Canada Marine Response Corporation stage near the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat near Bella Bella, British Columbia.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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A humpback whale surfaces a few kilometres from the wreckage of the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat in the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, British Columbia.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Colin Reid, left, and Shawn Gladstone, right, of the Heiltsuk Nation survey the area near the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat in the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, British Columbia.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Shawn Gladstone of the Heiltsuk Nation arrives near the clam beds to survey the area.

Rafal Gerszak/Rafal Gerszak

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Heiltsuk Nation community members survey the impact of the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat incident.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Seals rest in the Gale Pass near the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat incident near Bella Bella, British Columbia.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Heiltsuk Nation community members stand outside with messages to the Minister of Transport Marc Garneau as he meets with Heiltsuk leadership to discuss concerns relating to tanker traffic and the tugboat incident.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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An oil spill containment boom surrounds clam beds after the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat incident in the Gale Creek area.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, far right, meets with Heiltsuk leadership to discuss concerns relating to tanker traffic and the tugboat incident.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

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