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An American barge with 3.5 million litres of oil is reportedly in distress off the coast of the Canadian province of British Columbia, posing a potentially huge threat to the areas indigenous lands and wildlife were it to spill.
The Jake Shearer was sailing in turbulent waters near Bella Bella and Goose Island, when two of its three tug boats broke free and the barge dropped its anchor.
It is carrying millions of litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), although at the time of publication there was no indication that any of the fuel had spilled.
The vessel is anchored about 1.6km from Goose Island in a “pretty exposed area”, said Katelyn Moores, spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.
Two Canadian coastguard vessels are trying to help and additional resources were being sent to the location, according to officials.
“Rescue tug en route. CCG teams working throughout the night to ensure barge remains in place and the safety of those onboard,” the Canadian Coast Guard tweeted, adding that the safety of the two crew members on board the barge was the “highest concern”.