Environmentalists asking for stricter tugboat regulations

Most of the 200 litres of diesel fuel from a barge spill near a Vancouver Island orca habitat has now dispersed, Canadian Coast Guard officials have said.

Nearly 50 whales were spotted swimming through the slick after a tugboat tipped its load Monday near the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.

Whale researchers said the diesel fuel might be toxic to the orcas, which could inhale dangerous fumes and eat fish poisoned by the diesel.


Meanwhile some environmentalists are now demanding stricter regulations for tugboats that pull barges.

Alexandra Morton, director of the Raincoast Research Society, said there needs to be higher safety standards on tugs, CBC News Online reports.

Protective booms have been set up to prevent the fuel from reaching the shoreline.