Rescued barge adrift off B.C. coast to be towed to Alaska, First Nation relieved – Canadian Press

Narrowly missed having a major spill.

A British Columbia First Nation is breathing a sigh of relief as a barge carrying millions of litres of fuel was removed from its harbour on the central coast. The barge broke away from a U.S.-registered tugboat, the Jake Shearer, southwest of Bella Bella last Sunday…. The barge was carrying 12.5 million litres of diesel and gasoline… four times the volume initially estimated. (Canadian Press)

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/rescued-barge-adrift-off-b-c-coast-to-be-towed-to-alaska-first-nation-relieved

Sailor on watch admits ‘I fell asleep’ in report on fuel spill off B.C. coast – CBC

Why we need rescue tugs on the coast, and why we need regulations about multiple members of the crew on watch. These things are preventable, and the industry should be paying to have proper crews on their boats. The cost to the First Nations and the B.C. taxpayers should not be borne because of staffing issues caused to wring the last dime of profit from the transport of oil.

A crewmember who fell asleep during his watch was likely responsible for the grounding of a tug that caused thousands of litres of fuel to spill into the waters off Bella Bella, B.C., according to an American government safety agency. The second mate of the Nathan E. Stewart had been on watch for a little more than two hours when the tug ran aground in the Seaforth Channel in the early hours of Oct. 13, 2016, a marine accident brief from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says. Bethany Lindsay reports. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sailor-on-watch-admits-i-fell-asleep-in-report-on-fuel-spill-off-b-c-coast-1.4429963

Disabled tug towed into Port Angeles harbor-PDN

We dodged a big bullet on Wednesday. A disabled tug, towing a barge that if I had to guess was loaded with bunker fuel, was aided by the rescue tug from Neah Bay. A reminder that many of us, from Fred Felleman (currently a Port Commissioner in Seattle), People for Puget Sound (Kathy Fletcher, and their staff and board, myself included), the Makah Tribe, and especially then Representative now Senator Keven Van De Wege (who was awarded environmentalist of the year by People for Puget Sound for this bill) pushed a bill over the goal line after 11 years of trying to get this tug funded in Neah Bay.  Whatever small costs per year to keep this tug operational pales in comparison to the environmental damage done to the Strait and coast if this disabled tug was allowed to go ashore.

The 113-foot Mauna Loa along with its 320-foot barge were met by the crew of tug vessel Lauren Foss of Neah Bay, which is towing the disabled vessel to Port Angeles. It is expected to arrive at 11 p.m. tonight.  (Wednesday evening)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/disabled-tug-towed-into-port-angeles-harbor/

On the Trail of an Oil Tanker – The Globe and Mail

What is happening now, and what our future will increasingly look like until we, at some distant point in time, wean ourselves off petroleum. That is not going to happen soon. We will be very lucky not to have an Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Strait or the San Juans.

Don’t miss the incredible interactive web illustration that goes with this.

The Globe follows the Eser K, carrying more than 356,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil destined for California, through the most hazardous stretch in B.C. waters to observe the risks and safeguards in place, Justine Hunter reports from aboard the Seaspan Raven

On the Trail of a oil Tanker

Canada approves controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline – The Guardian

Well, Trudeau split the baby. The Northern Tier Gateway project, which would have gone through the  rain forest and imperiled the northern coast of B.C. will not be built. However, the Kinder Morgan pipeline to shipping facilities in Vancouver will. This raises the stakes for oil spills dramatically in the Straits. Trudeau did put millions of new dollars into updating the oil spill response network, which had been decimated by 12 years of Steven Harper’s do nothing government. While environmentalists are furious about this decision, we need to weigh the fact that the Strait already has one of the best vessel management systems in the world, and we work very cooperatively with Canada. With a much larger Canadian presence (the U.S. has had to bring the lion’s share of funding up to now) I feel we can be somewhat assured that it’s less likely than it could be to get a major spill. But this bitumen oil is far worse to clean up. With all the terrible environmental news in the U.S. from the election, we’ll just have to take this as a best of the worse case scenarios. We are going to have our hands full fighting the Trump administration’s policies, or lack of them.  We knew that Canada wasn’t going to leave it’s oil in the ground, as much as we would like them to, and the pipelines are marginally better than rail.

Canada has approved Kinder Morgan Inc’s hotly contested plan to twin a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, setting up a battle with environmentalists who helped elect the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

The Liberal government, seeking to balance demands from both greens and the energy industry, said allowing Kinder Morgan to build a second pipeline next to its existing Trans Mountain line will help ensure oil exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on the US market.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/canada-approves-kinder-morgan-oil-pipeline-justin-trudeau

B.C. government’s lack of progress on oil spill response highlighted by tug accident- Globe & Mail

Just to the north of us, they are still struggling with the lack of resources that the Harper Government dedicated to oil spill prevention, along with the removal of Coast Guard stations. Doesn’t bode well for increased tanker traffic from Vancouver, as is planned.  BC Premier Christy Clark has, for years, done virtually nothing to fix the situation, while blaming Ottawa for a lack of funds. All the while BC profits from the shipping of the oil, the dock traffic, and jobs associated with the industry. And she still is blaming this on Ottawa.

In 2012 the B.C. government set out five conditions that must be met before the province supports two proposed pipelines that would greatly increase tanker traffic on the West Coast. No.2 on that list is the establishment of a “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery system.” Last week the lack of progress on that point was underlined in dramatic fashion when U.S.-registered tug Nathan E. Stewart ran aground while pushing a huge fuel barge in a narrow passage just north of Bella Bella. Fortunately for the Great Bear Rainforest and the Heiltsuk people who live there, barge DBL 55 was empty. But an incident report filed in 2011 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation gives a sense of how bad the accident could have been, had the 91-metre fuel barge been loaded. On Dec. 21 that year, the same tug and barge combination went adrift after an engine failed near Cape Fairweather, in the Gulf of Alaska. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-governments-lack-of-progress-on-oil-spill-response-highlighted-by-tug-accident/article32385299/

See also: Diesel spill near Bella Bella an ‘environmental disaster,’ says nearby First Nationhttp://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/clean-up-continues-after-tug-sinks-near-bella-bella-1.3808493 (CBC)

Pipeline expansion plan raises worries about oil spills – KIRO

…. KIRO 7 asked Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) if the Canadians are sufficiently prepared to handle oil spills. Her answer: “No.” Cantwell said the problem is the type of oil coming from the tar sands, a heavy crude called diluted bitumen. “This is not the Exxon Valdez,” Cantwell said. “It’s worse because the product will sink.” In 2014, during a Senate hearing for the then-nominee for Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Cantwell asked Zukunft about readiness for oil spill cleanup. He responded that there’s good technology to remove oil from the surface, but “once it settles on the sea floor our technology is lacking.” “With the Coast Guard saying they don’t have a plan to deal with it, we shouldn’t take the risk,” Cantwell told KIRO 7 in January. Graham Johnson reports.

http://www.kiro7.com/news/are-canadians-prepared-to-handle-oil-spills/135104793

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