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Chamber of Shipping of B.C. assails
Ottawa moratorium on crude oil shipments

2017-05-17

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

The Canadian government's decision to implement a moratorium on crude oil shipments to and from ports in northern British Columbia "sends a dangerous economic signal while not addressing risk appropriately," according to the Vancouver-based Chamber of Shipping headed by Robert Lewis-Manning.

The Chamber was reacting to the mid-May announcement of the introduction of C-48, the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament. Penalty provisions could attain $5 million.

The legislation will prohibit tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo for stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine facilities in northern British Columbia. It is aimed at providing a high level of protection for the coastlines around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.

The proposed moratorium area extends from the Canada-U.S. border in the north down to the point on the mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. However ships carrying under 12,500 tonnes of crude or persistent oil will continue to be allowed in the moratorium area to ensure that northern communities will not be deprived of critical shipments of heating oils and other products.

The Chamber of Shipping stated  it "strongly advocates for the vigorous protection of our pristine coastlines, and we have been proud to lend our voice to the chorus of support for initiatives like the government's Oceans Protection Plan (OPP). Our members have eagerly participated in a range of programs designed to advance safe shipping practices and reduce our ecological impact.

"However, we do not support the moratorium announced today. Firstly, it contradicts a crucial pillar of the federal government's stated approach to environmental protection: evidence-based decision making. It also flies in the face of the OPP, which commits to focusing resources on determining and addressing real safety and environmental risks identified through scientific research.

"Secondly, the moratorium sends a very harmful signal to the international investment community. Canada is now the first and only country in the world to legislatively ban the trade of multiple commodities. The establishment of this moratorium may have unintended consequences from coast to coast and set a precedent that could ultimately impact Canadian jobs and the economy."

"At a time when the U.S. is focused on its global competitiveness, this unnecessarily extreme approach tells our current and potential trading partners that Canada is closed for business," said Mr. Lewis-Manning, President of the COSBC.

"Lastly, we are disappointed that the federal government ignored our recommendations for a comprehensive marine spatial planning approach that would bring together multiple users of the ocean - including First Nations, government, industry, conservation advocates, and recreational users - to address concerns. This pragmatic approach would have encouraged collaborative problem-solving, as well as clarity and consensus around policy development."

 
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