SHIPWRECKS: SS Arrow leaks oil in Chedabucto Bay – Strange it never did that before!

There’s a Fundy story about a fisherman visiting his old boat at the wharf. It is sunk … totally sunk. “Funny.” he says, “I can’t figure it out. It never did that before.” Some folks (mostly mainlanders) don’t get it and after reading this story I am beginning to understand that this fatalistic humour can be misunderstood. Imagine! The Arrow has been on the bottom for 45 years and it (finally) starts leaking.

Ryan Green, acting superintendent of environmental response with the Atlantic region of the Canadian Coast Guard, responds with … “We didn’t expect anything, because it had never leaked before.” Am I missing something? 

UPDATE: January 2019

The wreck still rests alongside Cerberus Rock in Chedabucto Bay, NS, split into two sections. In November 2015, cleanup crews successfully removed 30,000 litres of oil from the wreck. But, In all, about 10,330 tons of fuel were spilled, coating 75 miles of the shoreline with thick black sludge threatening wildlife and the fishery. Shore cleanup was a long difficult process as was the transfer of what was left of the oil aboard ARROW to the barge, IRVING WHALE (Ironically the IRVING WHALE became an another environmental concern a few months later when she sank off Prince Edward Island with oil and PCBs which had to be recovered in 1996.) The final retrieval of oil from the ARROW wreck was completed on April 11 and pioneered many clean-up techniques used in later tanker disasters. While the ecosystem of Chedabucto Bay recovered more quickly than expected, much of ARROW’s oil remains in sands and rocks where the long-term effects remain to be seen.Her bow and stern sections have become popular recreational dive sites. (Marine Heritage Database)

Art MacKay


SS Arrow leaks oil in Chedabucto Bay 45 years after sinking off Nova Scotia

CBC News: Oct 27, 2015 7:30 AM.

‘Very thick and viscous’ oil coming unstuck from Liberian-flagged ship that sank in 1970


Divers are removing 20,000 litres of oil left over from one of Nova Scotia’s worst oil spills, 45 years after the ship at the centre of the disaster sank in Chedabucto Bay.

The SS Arrow went down in heavy rain and wind in February 1970 after the Liberian-flagged tanker struck rocks. Crews pumped it out then, but earlier this month officials spotted oil on the water.

Ryan Green, acting superintendent of environmental response with the Atlantic region of the Canadian Coast Guard, says a team of four divers take turns swimming into the wreck and cleaning the oil out.

“We didn’t expect anything, because it had never leaked before,” Green said on Monday.
“Inside the ship, the oil is very thick and viscous and it’s a challenge to get it out. It sticks to the inside and over the last 40 years it’s come free and risen to the surface.”

They’ve removed about 6,000 litres of oil, meaning about 14,000 litres likely remains in the sunken ship.
‘It’s a very difficult job’

They want to get the rest of it removed as soon as possible, but the conditions are difficult. Divers can only work in 90-minute stretches and must dive 15 metres into the wreck.

“It’s a very difficult job,” Green said. “They have to be careful all the time. They’re in a very challenging position inside the wreck.”

References: SS Arrow Binder PDF


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