Vancouver, November 28, 2017 – This weekend’s marine incident off British Columbia’s Central Coast involving an articulated tug and barge operation in gale force winds highlights the need for improved risk prevention and management for Canada’s coastal waters.
B.C.’s Central and North Coast is one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world, has enormous cultural significance to the people who live there, and contains important resources for British Columbia’s economy - protecting it should be a priority. While the response actions by the vessel’s crew, the Canadian Coast Guard, and supporting commercial vessels in adverse conditions was heroic, this incident demonstrates the urgent need to focus efforts on preventing such incidents.
“The concerns of the Heiltsuk First Nation and coastal communities are notable and reflect both an innate understanding of the environment and commitment to protect it,” stated the Chamber of Shipping’s President Robert Lewis-Manning. “We encourage the Government of Canada to consider new innovative approaches to managing risk from coastal shipping, including the establishment of marine transportation corridors that could focus resources on planning, preventing and mitigating risks of marine incidents.”
While Canada is making progress on enhancing its marine protection under the Oceans Protection Plan, we urge faster progress with integrated planning in coastal areas. Adopting integrated marine spatial planning would not only better anticipate changing environmental conditions, but also ensure that Canada's regulatory and transportation framework could adapt to meet changing circumstances and avoid unintended consequences or actions that make Canada's supply chain less competitive in a global marketplace.
“It’s been one year since the Nathan E. Stewart’s tug grounding and fuel spill in the same area. Collectively, First Nations, the federal and provincial governments, and the marine industry need to do better,” added Lewis-Manning.
The Chamber of Shipping remains committed to the vigorous protection of our pristine coastlines, and we have been proud to lend our voice to the chorus of support for initiatives including the Canadian government’s Oceans Protection Plan.
About Chamber of Shipping
Since 1923, the Chamber of Shipping has been the representative voice of the marine industry on Canada’s west coast. The importance of that voice is arguably more important today than ever before as North America’s trade with Asia undergoes unrelenting growth and Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway plays a vital role in facilitating trade efficiency for the benefit of the entire nation.