10/22/2016 16:46 EDT | Updated 10/23/2017 01:12 EDT

Bad weather damages booms, spreads diesel spill from sunken tug off B.C. coast

BELLA BELLA, B.C. — Heavy weather conditions are causing a diesel spill from a sunken tugboat to spread in the waters off British Columbia's remote central coast.

A spokeswoman for Kirby Offshore Marine, which owns the tug, says the booms that were containing the spill have been compromised due to high winds and three-metre waves.

A situation report says response crews that were forced to stand down on Friday afternoon were again put on hold on Saturday as the threat of gale winds continued.

The spokeswoman says crews are working to reposition and replace the booms, and it remains unclear how much fuel spilled out into the open water as result of the storm.

Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett says her community is in a state of shock over the incident and questions why more seaworthy booms weren't installed immediately after the initial spill occurred. 

The Nathan E. Stewart tug ran aground on October 13th, about 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella, and less than half of the 200-thousand litres of fuel the vessel was estimated to be carrying has been recovered.