U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart sits on the bottom off Bella Bella Oct. 28

VIDEO: Clark has ‘no complaints’ on marine safety plan

Coast Guard to lease two heavy tugs, add equipment for Atlantic and Pacific marine safety and spill response




Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s upgrade to marine spill response includes “Indigenous Community Response Teams” and improved towing capacity for Canadian Coast Guard vessels, but falls well short of the three heavy salvage tugboats the B.C. government was asking for.

After an announced federal plan that seemed considerably less than what B.C. officials had requested of Ottawa, Premier Christy Clark said Monday she is pleased with the progress after years of requests for more resources.

A briefing from federal officials left her confident that “the bulk of the benefits” will go to the Pacific coast, including one of the new heavy rescue tugs and towing upgrades to four Coast Guard vessels, she said.

“I have to say I have no cause for complaint with what we’ve seen today,” Clark told reporters.

Funded with $1.5 billion over three years, the plan announced by Trudeau in Vancouver Monday also includes upgrades on the Atlantic coast and the Arctic. It proposed to lease two new large vessels capable of towing commercial vessels and large container ships, but it was not immediately clear whether either of those would be stationed on the B.C. coast.

Trudeau acknowledged repeatedly that the improvements to shipping safety and emergency response are overdue.

“Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and it’s a poorly kept secret that we haven’t done enough to protect it,” Trudeau said after touring Vancouver Harbour aboard a Coast Guard vessel.

The plan refers to adding towing equipment to existing Coast Guard ships, improving marine traffic monitoring with new radar sites and placing additional emergency and enforcement officers on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

RELATED: B.C. has been ‘cheated’ on marine safety: Christy Clark

The B.C. government had been seeking three new heavy rescue tugboats for the West Coast, and upgrading of the Prince Rupert Coast Guard station. The province’s proposal was based on a three-hour window to respond when vessels lose power or are grounded, to prevent most spills of fuel or cargo even in the worst weather conditions.

Trudeau said the response to the sinking of a U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart, pushing a barge south from Alaska, was “unacceptable” and the new plan is the biggest investment in Canadian history for marine environmental protection.

 

Just Posted

Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

While the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

20th annual OrcaFest takes over Port McNeill

Check out the North Island Gazette’s OrcaFest photo gallery!

Oh Yeah takes a bite out of Woodchuckers at OrcaFest slo-pitch tournament in Port McNeill

Oh Yeah defeated the Woodchuckers 21-10 after seven innings.

Gate House Theatre reopens, kicks off OrcaFest in style

It was an evening of laughter and good times and the perfect launch to the festival weekend.

Port Hardy council creates subscription-based portal for agendas and minutes

It was a “council decision based on presentation by staff during financial planning budget meetings.”

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Most Read