12/17/2010: "How Cool Is This? But It Has A Serious Side"
In a recent news report on the need for improved oil spill protection (see story to the left) there was a LINK to real time tracking of shipping traffic in the Salish Sea.
There is a surprising amount of shipping traffic in the waters off of San Juan County, and that has resulted in a number of actions to address safety issues:
Current events related to marine shipping safety in the Salish Sea
1. The December 7, 2010 Report of the Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, which identified that Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are ill-prepared to deal with a major oil spill.
2. The December 7, 2010 release of the Public Comment Draft of the Stakeholder Workgroup Review of Planning and Response Capabilities for a Marine Oil Spill on the U.S./Canadian Transboundary Areas of the Pacific Coast Project Report which identifies many areas for improvement.
3. A November 2010 internal audit by the Canadian Coast Guard identified that the agency lacks the training, equipment and management systems to respond to oil spills.
4. The September 15, 2010 Canadian Pacific Pilotage Authority Interim Operating Rules for Loaded Crude Oil Tankers in Excess of 40,000 DWT for Boundary Pass and Haro Strait offer significant safety improvements for transiting tankers. We are especially pleased to note the new requirement for escort tugs.
5. The December 7, 2010 Canadian federal court ruling that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has failed to adequately protect the critical habitat of British Columbia’s resident killer whales. Among other points, the ruling states that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment are required under section 58 of the Canadian Species at Risk Act to provide legal protection against destruction for all components of the Resident Killer Whales’ critical habitat. This means that the Government of Canada is legally required to address the most significant threats to their critical habitat, such as the impacts of shipping, which include toxic contamination risk from oil spills, and physical and acoustic disturbances.
6. New US Coast Guard regulations for maritime salvage and firefighting for oil tankers transiting to and from US ports came into effect on January 22, 2010 as a result of Congressional direction in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
7. The BP Cherry Point Refinery Marine Terminal North Wing Extension Environmental Impact Statement will soon be released. It will include a state of the art vessel traffic risk assessment developed through a George Washington University leading-edge computer simulation program that incorporates existing and projected shipping information for Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Haro Strait and Boundary Pass.