The Pacific Grizzly has sunk in the Bella Coola Harbour. At approximately 5pm last night, local fishermen noticed the boat was listing heavily. As the hours passed it became apparent that the vessel was going under.
“We did our best to contain the diesel,” said a local fisherman, one of the first responders on the scene. “We grabbed every containment kit available to us and tried to stop it from spreading.”
The Coast Guard has been called out to the scene and is expected soon. Details are still emerging but it’s alleged the vessel has been in a state of disrepair for some time, with some onsite calling the disaster “imminent.” However, no investigation had been done on the cause of the sinking as of press time.
It is unknown how much diesel fuel has been spilled in the harbour but estimates were approximately 1000 litres. Thanks to the concentrated efforts of local volunteers, fishermen, and the Nuxalk Coastal Guardian Watchmen, it is believed to be contained in the harbour at present, but changing weather and tides are a major concern.
With her enormous stature and distinctive name, the Pacific Grizzly is well-known. The vessel belongs to Leonard Ellis, the owner of Bella Coola Grizzly Tours. It isn’t known when the boat was last used for commercial or recreational purposes, but it’s thought to be several years at least.
Clean-up costs are speculated to run into several hundred thousand dollars. Coast Mountain News will provide updates on this story as it develops.