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)

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)

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)

See also: Diesel spill near Bella Bella an ‘environmental disaster,’ says nearby First Nation (CBC)

The Impacts of a Grays Harbor Oil Spill, in 13 Slides – Siteline

Huge money from Big Oil pollutes our political system in Washington State to gain access to exporting oil to China and Japan, a move that the Republican Congress is trying to get done, but can’t with Obama in power. The oil companies are trying to push through three large oil terminals for Grays Harbor. Here’s an overview, by Siteline of what that could mean. Want to take action on this? Contact our two state representatives for the Peninsula (or yours whereever you live) and our one State Senator (who is from the Aberdeen Hoquim area). There contact info is listed on the left side of my blog front page.

How Big Oil jeopardizes Washington coastal tourism and the Quinault Nation.

Three large oil terminals proposed for Grays Harbor could undermine the region’s economy and local culture. That’s the takeaway from two recent economic analyses: first, a study on coastal recreation in Washington from the Surfrider Foundation and marine technology firm Point 97; then, Economic Impacts of Crude Oil Transportation on the Quinault Indian Nation and the Local Economy, published by economic consulting firm Resource Dimensions.

A lot more on this at Siteline.

Siteline is one of my must read daily feeds. If you end up enjoying this article, join me in donating anything to their cause. Even $5 to $10.

Cargo Ship Loses Steering just west of Port Angeles. Towed safely to PA for repairs.

Another reason all our work on getting rescue tugs and others involved in the protection of the Strait was a good idea. This time the rescue tug was not needed, but another tug from PA came to the rescue. I’ll update this story if there is reason to.

A cargo ship lost steering off Port Angeles just after midnight Wednesday and was towed into the Port Angeles Harbor for repair. The state Department of Ecology received a report from the state Emergency Management Division that the Grand Quest lost steering 6 nautical miles northwest of Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just after 12:15 a.m. The Grand Quest is a 587-foot Panama-flagged auto carrier that left Astoria, Ore., at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday, and was on its way to Tacoma, according to the ship’s GPS locator beacon. The Brian S., a Port Angeles-based tug, towed the ship to anchor in Port Angeles at about 3 a.m., said Petty Officer Katelyn Tyson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

Cargo ship loses steering, towed to Port Angeles for repairs

BC Coast Guard Union Voices Concerns over Oil Shipments

The battle for protection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the BC Coast goes on north of the border. The BC union of Coast Guard workers came out yesterday against Canadian Government proposals to slash the vessel monitoring stations along the coast. Additionally, they are looking to ease vessel call in rules as they approach the Strait. As stated in this column in earlier entries, our government and tribes ought to be protesting loudly to the Canadians about this issue. In a few years it will be too late.

Washingtonians honored for their oil spill prevention work

OLYMPIA – The state and provincial organization coordinating oil spill prevention and response efforts in the Pacific region will honor two Washingtonians for their tireless efforts to protect state waters from spills, especially Puget Sound.

The Pacific States-British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force will present its 2012 Legacy Awards to Kathy Fletcher, founder of People For Puget Sound, and Eric Olsson, Washington Sea Grant Program – along with recipients from elsewhere in the region – at the organization’s annual Clean Pacific Conference on May 16, 2012, in Long Beach, Calif.

The task force was created in 1989 in the wake of a 231,000-gallon oil spill in December 1988 off the Washington coast near Ocean Shores. The spill fouled beaches from northern Oregon to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Members include oil spill prevention and response agencies in Alaska, British Columbia, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, which is represented by the state Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Fletcher will be recognized for her 30-year leadership role in helping prevent oil spills and improve emergency response in Puget Sound.

In 1983, she led the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, a predecessor of the Puget Sound Partnership. Fletcher founded the non-profit People For Puget Sound in 1991. The latter group has 25 staff members based in Seattle and Olympia with about 10,000 member households.

Through the years, Fletcher participated in multiple stakeholder groups focused on oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in Puget Sound. Under her leadership, People For Puget Sound was instrumental in getting the private maritime industry to station a permanent, year-round emergency response vessel at Neah Bay.

Before funding for the Neah Bay response tug shifted to the private sector in 2010, Fletcher was a driving force for obtaining public funding to station an emergency response vessel at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, starting in 1999.

She retired from People For Puget Sound in June 2011.

“Kathy has left an amazing legacy in protecting Puget Sound from oil spills,” said Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen. “Since 1999, a Neah Bay response tug has assisted 46 vessels that were either completely disabled or had reduced maneuvering ability and potentially helped prevent thousands of gallons of oil from being spilled to our waters.”

Olsson has worked tirelessly during his tenure at Washington Sea Grant to successfully educate harbormasters, marina operators and boat owners about how to prevent small oil spills to Washington waters. He has provided hundreds of intensive vessel safety workshops for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters and developed an interactive on-line oil spill prevention, preparedness and response training course.

Olsson also helped form the Pacific Oil Spill Prevention Education Team that evolved from the premise that small oil spills can add up, can cause significant environmental and economic harm, and are a regional problem. The team includes representatives from state and federal agencies, industry associations, and nonprofit groups from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and other parts of the U.S.

Jensen said, “Eric is a state, regional and nationwide leader for oil spill prevention education, and his great work is visible across Washington. I think of Eric every time I see a ‘Spills Aren’t Slick’ sign at a marina, state park or public boat launch, reminding people to immediately notify authorities if they spill oil.”

Additional award recipients are:

  • Capt. Daniel LeBlanc, U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Columbia River.
  • Rusty Nall, Executive Vice President, American Marine Corp. and PENCO.
  • Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO).
  • U.S. Coast Guard SS Montebello Project Team.
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