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.

 

Just Posted

Power back on for all residences in Quesnel area

Hydro crews cleaned up three outages last night, and turned power back on for fourth one today. KAREN POWELL PHOTO

FHL: Bear wins again over BCS with dramatic goal

Steve Dodge brings us all the highlights from the FHL

Highway 97 has slippery sections both north and south of Quesnel

Motorists will have to drive to road conditions and drive with caution

Wind storm has wreaked havoc on Central Interior

Quesnel, Prince George have outages, but Williams Lake area hardest hit to date

Vital Information Program part of community preparedness and residents’ safety

The VIP is provided free to seniors, to provide critical information to emergency personnel

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read