Federal Industry Minister James Moore

Federal Industry Minister James Moore

Coast Guard calls spill response ‘amazing success’

Industry Minister James Moore fires back at Premier Christy Clark, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau

Federal Industry Minister James Moore and a senior Canadian Coast Guard official have defended the response to a fuel spill from a freighter in Vancouver Harbour.

Roger Girouard, assistant commissioner for the western region of the Canadian Coast Guard, said Friday afternoon that containing and cleaning up 80 per cent of the spilled bunker fuel within 36 hours “represents an amazing success in oil pollution cleanup.”

Moore shot back at Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Premier Christy Clark, who held their own news conferences earlier Friday. Both called the six-hour delay before containment booms were placed around a grain freighter an unacceptable delay.

“The cleanup is still ongoing and the facts are still coming in,” Moore said. “I think it’s highly inappropriate for any politician to start pointing fingers and trying to score political points and making jabs at other levels of government without knowing all the facts.”

Girouard said citizen reports of pollution in Vancouver harbour come in to the Coast Guard frequently, and it was not until about 8 p.m. Thursday that an aerial assessment determined a response was required. Identifying the ship and working in the dark to have booms in place by midnight allowed crews to contain “the lion’s share of the oil before it hit the beach,” he said.

Four oil-contaminated birds have been collected for treatment and one reported sighting of a seal in distress had not been confirmed by Friday afternoon. Cleanup crews doubled in the first 24 hours, with assessment of beached oil to determine the safest way to clean it up ongoing, he said.

Girouard rejected suggestions that the 2013 closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard base hampered the response. Kitsilano was a search and rescue station with only 100 metres of boom material available, and it took more than 400 metres of boom to contain the Marathassa, a new freighter on its first voyage.

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau issued a statement Friday morning, blaming Conservative government cuts for delays and vowing to reopen the Kitsilano station if he wins an election scheduled for this fall.

Transport Canada is investigating to see whether a malfunction of ship equipment caused the bunker oil to be released in the harbour.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

(Corrado Colombo photo)
Corrado Colombo, with his wife, Lucy. Colombo is from Italy, but met Kitimat born-and-raised Lucy on one of his annual fishing trips to Kitimat in the early 2000s.
In Our Valley: Corrado Colombo

Corrado Colombo never expected that an annual fishing trip to Kitimat would change his life

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

CityWest internet and other services are down in Kitimat as of Wednesday (Nov. 25) evening. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Services down for CityWest users in Kitimat

Services were put out due to a landslide cutting a fibre line

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Most Read