Articulated Tug Barges (ATBs) operate in the shadows without notifying the public of what they are shipping – which could be anything from heavy crude oil to volatile cancer-causing chemicals like benzene.

It’s time to stop letting these shady shipments slip through regulatory loopholes and put communities in danger.

Please call on CEO of the Pacific Pilotage Authority Captain Kevin Obermeyer to stop giving dangerous ATBs a free pass. https://sierraclub.bc.ca/stopatbs/

 

Tankers out of the Great Bear Sea

The Canadian government passed the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (Bill C-48), joining the Coastal First Nations in upholding a ban on oil tankers in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii since 2010. While it’s important to celebrate all victories in conservation, this is an opportunity to highlight a dangerous loophole in the Act. The moratorium covers tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil or persistent oils (things such as fuel oils, partly upgraded bitumen, synthetic crude oils and No. 6 bunker fuel) from stopping, loading and unloading at any ports along B.C.’s north coast.

The Pacific coast is still at risk from these large fuel shipments. The tanker ban legislation does not affect any of the current traffic carrying petroleum products through the region. This includes 10,000 deadweight tonne tug and barge shipments to Alaska transiting the Salish Sea and B.C. Inside Passage, on average making one return trip every ten days with no stops in Canada. These shipments are approximately four times the volume of the largest domestic fuel deliveries to communities and industry on the central coast.

These vessels, in the same class as the Nathan E. Stewart which ran aground, and the Jake Shearer which suffered a near-collision, will continue to operate despite progress in other areas of marine and terrestrial protection, putting our coast at greater risk. These shipments can travel more safely outside the tanker exclusion zone in offshore-capable vessels. While coastal communities do need improved capacity to respond to the many small spills that occur from all kinds of vessels, the only real protection is precaution: minimize shipping of toxic products. There is no spill response technology or protocol in the world that can clean up more than a small fraction of product spilled in the ocean, except perhaps under ideal conditions.

The tanker ban legislation does not affect any of the current traffic carrying petroleum products through the region. The Pacific coast is still at risk from these large fuel shipments: send a letter to demand action.