Spills may be rare, but response lacking

Yes, the Exxon Valdez incident was a long time ago but they still haven’t finished cleaning up all the mess yet. And it can happen again any time in spite of modern navigation aids.

The Russian freighter that collided with the BC Ferry in Active Pass had a local pilot on board, but of course it is always the master who retains command, pilot or not.

Yes there are many vessels entering and leaving Vancouver harbour and only relatively few are tankers at present, but accidents still can and will happen. How are we prepared to deal with mishaps? Remember that when the freighter, loaded with bunker oil, diesel, chemicals and other cargo lost power off the Haida Gwai coast on a Thursday and the first Coast Guard vessel didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon.

Then there was the tug that went aground near Bella Bella in 2016; the mop-up crew didn’t arrive until 16 hours later and by then it was dark. Cause was human error, the mate fell asleep.

Then there was the (fortunately) empty fuel barge that ran aground in the same area not long after.

Remember the Queen of the North. Human error.

What is in place now to respond to an environmental or other emergency? Not much!

Hans Rysdyk

Qualicum Beach

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