A Vancouver company is about to make another attempt to free a fuel barge that’s been stuck near Tuktoyaktuk for almost a year. In September of 2016, Fathom Marine’s “Investigator” barge came loose from its tugboat and ran aground at Toker Point, near the N.W.T. community.
Fathom Marine president Neils Gram says the Canadian Coast Guard has approved the company’s plan to make another attempt to free the barge next week, employing the same method it used to free its tugboat and work barge. “They’ll dig a path in the seabed for the barge and also use excavators to dig a pool in the sand around the
barge,” he said. “Then they’ll just inch the barge towards the sea using the pulling force of the excavators.”
However, Tuktoyaktuk mayor Darrel Nasogaluak, has said that Fathom needs a better plan.
A month after the barge ran aground, Fathom removed 50,000 litres of diesel fuel it was carrying, and attempted to free it from the beach. The attempt failed. The mayor said that it was “disturbing that we don’t have the resources in our region to recover a barge in a timely fashion. I hope we can all learn a lesson from this and sit down with the Canadian Coast Guard and any other agency that would respond to something like this in the future, for them and us to be prepared for something like this.”
Nasogaluak added that Toker Point was in a sensitive ecological area where Inuvialuit harvest geese. “We are going to ask for a meeting with them to get some answers,” he said. “For example, what are long-term effects of the excavating of the sand around the barge?”