January 9, 2013
The Trouble With Tankers
A risky way to
Released by Jane Sterk, BC Green Party
collision of an oil tanker with San Francisco's Bay Bridge provides
another example of why increased traffic due to the Kinder Morgan
and Enbridge pipeline projects should give British Columbians cause
for grave concern, says Green Party of BC Leader Jane Sterk.
Fortunately the Overseas
Reymar was empty when the San Francisco incident occurred. The
tanker sustained "scrapes and dents" the U.S. Coast Guard reported,
but no oil was spilled. Had the vessel been fully loaded, and had
its collision not been into impact fenders around the bridge, the
outcome might have been far more serious.
"This accident occurred on a well known, highly controlled
waterway," Ms. Sterk noted. "It shows, once again, that there is no
way to assure the risk of disastrous oil spills near either
Vancouver or Kitimat would not become a terrible reality if we allow
the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan projects to add significantly to the
tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hecate Strait."
Ms. Sterk noted this is the second time in the last six years a boat
has collided with the Bay Bridge. In November, 2007 a container ship
Cosco Busan hit a support tower, spilling 53,000 gallons of fuel
oil, which fouled 26 miles of shoreline in San Mateo and Marin
counties, killing more than 6,800 birds and resulting in $58 million
in fines and damage claims.
Both incidents occurred despite stringent regulations, and even
though the vessels were in the control of local pilots; both were
attributed to poor visibility due to heavy fog. "Accidents happen,
despite the best controls," Ms. Sterk noted. "An accident involving
a tanker carrying thousands of tonnes of heavy oil would cause
irreparable damage to the sensitive marine ecosystems of BC."
She cited a recent incident at Robert's Bank as another example of
the risks. The bulk carrier Cape Apricot crashed at the Westshore
Terminals coal port at Robert's Bank, slicing through over 100
metres of the causeway, tearing out the coal conveyer system and
dumping tonnes of raw coal into the ocean.
Ms. Sterk noted that the U.S. Coast Guard has been ordered to
conduct a risk assessment in response to a projected 300 percent
increase in tanker traffic that would result in the Salish Sea and
Juan de Fuca Strait due to the Kinder Morgan proposal. "A
supertanker oil spill near our shores would threaten Washington
state's thriving coastal economy and thousands of jobs," said
Democratic Washington State senator Maria Cantwell.
"The Green Party of BC opposes both the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan
projects because they add unacceptable levels of direct risk to BC's
environment," Ms. Sterk said. "We also oppose them because they will
certainly contribute to continued reliance and increased use of
fossil fuels, and to the inevitable consequences of global warming
due to greenhouse gas emissions."
For more on the Green Party of BC's sustainable energy and
transportation plans please refer to the
Green Book 2013 which is available at
Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice