10/28/2015 11:23 EDT | Updated 10/28/2016 01:12 EDT

Cleanup continues 45 years after tanker ran aground off Nova Scotia's eastern shore

ARICHAT, N.S. — Canadian Coast Guard divers have been called in to remove thousands of litres of oil from a ship that sank 45 years ago off Nova Scotia's eastern shore.

The tanker Arrow ran aground on Cerberus Rock and sank in heavy seas near Arichat, N.S., in February 1970.

At the time, the wreck caused one of the worst oil spills in Canadian history, spilling about 8,000 tonnes of oil that fouled 300 kilometres of Chedabucto Bay's shoreline and killed 2,500 sea birds.

The latest cleanup was organized after a slick was spotted during a routine aerial surveillance flight in August.

Spill response specialist Kyle Jarvis says it's unclear how much oil spilled from the tanker before the slick was spotted.

He says about 4,400 litres of heavy, Bunker C oil has been pumped from the wreck so far and about 16,000 litres remain. 

The Canadian Press