British Columbia's Ministry of Environment says a barge has tipped in Victoria's harbor, dumping as many as 20 vehicles into the water.

The ministry says the barge was being loaded by metal recycling company Schnitzer Steel in an area of the harbor just north of the city's downtown core.

Booms are in the water to contain any pollution and the ministry says the coast guard, Transport Canada, police, fire and harbor master are on scene.

The ministry says Transport Canada has indicated that the vehicles were cleaned of fuel before being loaded onto the barge.

Seaspan is the barge owner, and the ministry says it will be responsible for all cleanup costs.