A floating West Coast Resorts lodge became unmoored from its anchoring buoy in Alliford Bay and ran aground on Lina Island Saturday night. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Salvage of grounded Haida Gwaii barge to begin as emergency command post closes

The barge and lodge broke away from their moorings in high winds on Sept. 8 and ran aground.

Tension is easing on British Columbia’s north coast as crews make progress unloading and securing a barge that ran aground in Haida Gwaii and was at risk of exploding.

Responders says preparations are underway to close the command post, which was set up in the nearby village of Queen Charlotte shortly after the barge broke away from its moorings in high winds on Sept. 8.

A news release from the unified command overseeing the work says it is now shifting to a salvage operation.

HaiCo, the owner of the Hippa Lodge, a 48-guest luxury fishing resort aboard the barge, will manage the job.

Concerns that a ruptured fuel line had filled the barge’s hold with potentially explosive vapours prompted the coast guard to close surrounding areas, but crews spent the last 10 days removing any dangerous cargo.

No one was hurt in the grounding and there has been no environmental damage.

“All agencies will continue to be consulted as needed electronically, in relation to ensuring protection of the environment, safe disposal of hazardous waste and contaminants, and protection of areas of cultural significance,” says the release.

Air quality and environmental monitoring will also continue during the salvage operation, officials say.

Related: Several more days before salvage of barge can begin on Haida Gwaii

Related: Crews testing for gas vapours in grounded Haida Gwaii barge

The Canadian Press

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