Making mountains out of mole hills

It took almost no time at all for opponents of Northern Gateway project to negatively point to the grounding of the Amakusa Island.

It took almost no time at all for opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project to point to the grounding of the Amakusa Island as proof positive of the risks associated with oil tankers traversing the coast.

A lot of comments and discussion were along the lines of “take note, Enbridge” and “imagine if that had been an oil tanker”. In the spirit of dialogue, let’s go ahead and imagine the Amakusa Island was an oil tanker.

The fact that there was a Canadian pilot on board does indeed show that accidents happen even with local expertise. And yes, an oil tanker has just as much chance of running aground as the coal-handling Amakusa. But before the sky fills with red flags, let’s look at the facts.

When the vessel hit the land, despite being loaded with 80,000 metric tonnes of coal, it took on water but it didn’t sink thanks to the quick action of the captain who closed off bulkheads. None of the product escaped from the single hulled ship. Crews were quickly on scene and there was no environmental contaminants making its way into the ocean.

I imagine if it had been a double-hulled oil tanker that struck that piece of land, all of the above would be true. There would have been no product spillage, as the double hull provides extra protection, the captain and engineers would still have shut down the bulkheads to keep the ship afloat, the response time would have been the same.

So really, opponents telling Enbridge to take note of an accident that had no spillage, injury or long-term impacts to the environment doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Could this have been worse? Yes, much worse. But pointing to this incident as proof of the risks of oil tankers plying these waters is simply fear-mongering, which is the lowest common denominator of opposition.

You can’t point to the grounding of the Amakusa Island as a reason to oppose oil tanker traffic anymore than you can point to a fender-bender as a reason not to drive. It just doesn’t work.

Just Posted

Pembina CEO says ‘noise’ makes Trans Mountain pipeline bid unlikely

Trans Mountain was sold to federal government in 2018

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Fore-get about golf this weekend, Vic Marion Seniors tournament postponed

Rainy forecast in Prince Rupert pushes tournament to later date

City of Prince Rupert seeking parents’ opinions to address child care issues

Child care study launching this week as part of action plan

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

The Northern View 2019 Readers Choice

It’s that time of year again! Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Aug. 30

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read