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REPORTING · 21st May 2012
Walter McFarlane
Colin Kinsley, the chair of the Northern Gateway Alliance took the stand at the Kitimat City Council Meeting on Monday, May 7th to introduce the people who would be speaking to the topic of Marine Safety. With him were Chris Anderson, a master Mariner and Captain Tom Wood.

“Unlike the Douglas Channel Watch, we believe in the Joint Review Panel and we welcome questions which might fill in those gaps. Reasonable questions by reasonable people is almost what we’re like. We started off with about 50 people three years ago at the SCMA in Dawson Creek and we’re up to close to 1600 now. We share the same concerns but we want to see that both sides of the story are heard and it goes through a process. One that is rigorous and transparent,” said Kinsley.

He Told Council Marine Safety is a bigger issue in Alberta because people there come to BC to Fish, before introducing Anderson.

Anderson introduced himself as the Marine Advisor for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. He explained he is there to discuss tanker safety, and passed the presentation to Woods.

Wood got up and introduced himself. He has been in the marine industry as a tanker captain with British Petroleum and PK Shipping in Canada. He was the Fleet General Manager of PK Marine Operations in Vancouver. For the last ten years, he has been a marine consultant in Tanker operations and oil and gas offshore production projects.

He went into issues brought up by the people in Kitimat, Marine Safety and TERMPOL report findings.

“The Northern Gateway Project recognizes the most important aspect of this project is marine safety, that’s paramount,” said Wood.

He showed the routes and explained there are several routes because parts the area is inaccessible during a part of the year. He told Council the goal is to enhance international conventions, lower the probability of incident to as low as reasonably practical and minimize consequences should an incident occur.

They plan to place several layers of safeguards in place to achieve these goals. Enbridge and the vessels will have to apply with International and Canadian regulations. The list includes double hulls, segregated ballast, closed cargo loading and discharge, they have to follow ISN Code and standards of SDW95.

“Northern Gateway Project also recognises and is committed to safety, in design and safety in operations,” said Wood. “I have no doubt in my mind these routes, these tankers can safely navigate these routes.”

He explained the tug escorts were a layer of safety. The tankers will be vetted by third parties. Weather monitoring stations will be put in place. The vessels will have speed restrictions. There are plans to upgrade marine communications, radar coverage and navigation aids to reduce the risk of an oil spill.

“Northern Gateway recognises and is committed to terminal safety and environment,” said Wood. He went through some of the safety items at the terminals. He stated they plan to enhance Marine Response Capacity based on the decisions by the Joint Review Panel.

Response Centres are planned for Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Shearwater. Further response Centres are subject to Community Participation. They want to construct and operate a marine terminal.

From the TERMPOL report which was completed recently, Wood expressed there are no regulatory concerns for operations, the routes, the waterway users and the marine terminal in the report. The proposed upgrades will help improve shipping in this area.

He thanked Council for the opportunity to speak.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked about Double Hulls. Wood explained the Double Hulls serve the purpose of providing a layer of protection, such as a glancing blow off of a rock or a ship. In a head on or side to side collision, the hulls would be penetrated but these are only caused by serious problems. Corrosion is monitored and anti corrosion measures have been introduced. He said it was much more safe then the single hull.

Feldhoff also wanted to know if the Exxon Valdez was a double or a single hulled vessel. The response was it was a single hulled vessel. Councillor Corrine Scott thanked them for coming up and answering a few questions from the proponents view. She wanted to hear both sides of the issue.

On the request of Councillor Rob Goffinet, Wood explained tugs and dynamic towing, which allows a tug to arrest the forward momentum of a ship and steer it.