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

Province announces $2.5-million boost to increase tourism in B.C.’s resort towns

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

Premier Horgan talks jobs and opportunity at Castlegar mill

Upbeat visit brings message of hope and co-operation among Kootenay forestry players

Recycle major appliances for free in Kootenay Boundary

Free service begins May 1; Refrigerant appliances not included at Greater Trail regional landfill

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read