Monday, April 13, 2015

Could Nanaimo See A Fuel 'Spill'?

This weekend there are at least two freighters at anchor just off of Newcastle Island waiting their turn in the port of Vancouver. This is a common occurrence all year round as Vancouver over-flow freighters drop anchor just outside our inner harbour.

The incident in Burrard Inlet was not the result of some unforeseen accident such as running aground but seems to be the result of some level of human error, as the fuel 'spill' is likely the result of the fuel being pumped from the ship by a deliberate human action.

Over the coming weeks and months I am sure this ship and crew will be the subject of intense investigation to determine just how such a calamity occurred.

As I understand it, when a ship is anchored off Nanaimo they are required to close the bilge water discharge and place a locking device on it. Effectively making it impossible for contaminates of any kind being pumped into our waters.

It must be assumed that similar precautions were in place in Burrard Inlet yet those precautions have broken down somehow.

While the Nanaimo Port Authority does have plans in place to deal with such a spill it is reasonable to assume that if tide and wind do not cooperate the shores of both Protection and Newcastle Island as well as our inner harbour and the Nanaimo River Estuary could be seriously impacted by such an event.

This is just one of the many risks we have to deal with in our modern age and have to strike a balance of acceptable risk and how much we are willing to pay to mitigate against such risk.


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