Back in 2012 the Port released “Prince Rupert Marine Risk Assessment” by DNV and told us we could expect a marine incident every 23 years and if large vessel traffic increased to 1000 from its current level (500/yr) we could expect one incident every 10 years. The Port also said if they introduced 100 oil supertankers, we could expect one of them to spill oil once every 781 years. That sounds okay except, oopsie, they left out perhaps the biggest cause of local groundings; going to and from anchorage and dragging anchor.
The Hanjin Geneva ran aground in the harbour in 2012 and then, in 2014, the Amakusa Island ran aground, tore a hole in her hull and took on water. Two incidents and yet only two years had passed since the once every 23-year forecast. DNV’s forecast wasn’t to blame, the Amakusa grounding didn’t really count because it was on the way to anchor and the Port didn’t allow DNV to consider any accidents outside a narrow navigation corridor.
Now, the Port is doing it again and there is a lot more at stake. They are in charge of the environmental assessment of the Vopak project. They must determine if the proposed Vopak terminal with 150 additional vessels, including diesel oil supertankers, is or is not likely to result in adverse environmental effects. However, the Port drew the boundaries of their assessment to exclude anchorages.
This is outrageous; the risk of Vopak vessels dragging anchor onto the rocks or running aground on the way to anchorage should be assessed.
Ken Veldman’s letter to the editor last week says the Port welcomes dialogue but it is time for action. People have been asking since September 2018 for the Port to do a proper environmental assessment of Vopak including anchoring. It is time for the Port to hire DNV to independently assess the marine risk Vopak poses to the Skeena Estuary and this time don’t leave out anchoring. If DNV finds the risk is too great and we need mooring buoys, before we approve Vopak, then let’s find out and do it.
Prince Rupert, B.C.
The Northern View