A 98-foot-tug ran aground and sank off Bella Bella, BC, last year, spilling more than 28,000 gallons of diesel fuel, because the second mate fell asleep at the wheel, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Bella Bella, about 98 nm north of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, is one of the most beautiful parts of the Inside Passage, and is home to the Heiltsuk First Nation.
The accident occurred on Oct. 13, 2016, when the tug Nathan E. Stewart, with an articulated barge, ran aground and sank in Seaforth Channel, just west of Bella Bella. The NTSB investigation says the second mate said he fell asleep after he relieved the captain and missed a change of course. The tug was headed for the Port of Vancouver.
Bella Bella, once known as Waglisla, is a small fishing community with a population of 1,400 and a nearby marina. I’ve gone by several times and once, about 30 years ago, spent a few days there when the Donzi 33 that Eric Schweikardt, the photographer, and I were driving from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, and back, blew an engine and we had to wait for parts. Read more: