Can Tankers Safely Navigate in West Coast Waters?



Ship sent to drain diesel off grounded tug boat nearly sinks raising questions about tanker traffic off BC coast.

A response boat working to retrieve diesel from a sunken tug, that ran aground near Bella Bella off B.C coast, nearly sank itself.

Dylan Carter with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre says the craft took on water in rough seas earlier today, “A small skiff associated with one of the landings a barge at the scene was briefly swamped during salvage operations with one person on board.  The boat and the person were both recovered.  No injuries and no pollution were reported from that part of the incident.”

A week ago, the tug hit the coast at Bella Bella north of Vancouver Island with nearly 25,000 litres of diesel on board.

The incident is leading many to question whether Canada’s oil spill response is adequate to allow full sized tankers to navigate in west coast waters.

Kai Nagata with activist group Dogwood Initiative says today’s mission failed because the Florida-based response team aren’t familiar with local waters.

“Places are very far apart, the weather is unpredictable, a lot of these charts are not reliable, and so unless you have local pilots and know what you’re doing, the waters can be very treacherous.”

Nagata adds the response to the spill has been fraught with problems from the get go.

“They talk about world-class spill response.  That was the quote from the minister on Monday and what we’re seeing up here is anything but.  If you know the west coast and you understand the weather and just the realities of trying to move boats around here, these waters can be very treacherous as the crew at the Nathan E. Stewart found out.”

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Sources & References: APTN, iNews880


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