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Clear Seas survey underlines vessel oil spill concerns of Canadians

Euronav’s Cap Charles arriving at Port of Québec, one of Canada’s busy oil ports. Photo Louis Rhéaume

Vancouver, BC – Despite a drop in marine oil spills worldwide due to improved safety measures, Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping’s (Clear Seas) latest public opinion survey shows that spills in Canadian waters from tankers and ship fuel tops the concerns of Canadians. Catastrophic events such as the recent oil spill off the coast of Mauritius also raise questions about Canada’s ability to clean up oil spills and how to protect the marine environment and coastal communities. 

To answer these questions, a new webpage explaining what happens when oil spills from a ship in Canadian waters has been released by Clear Seas. This first-of-its-kind webpage provides a comprehensive inventory of the resources in place to respond to a marine oil spill. It also breaks down the response sequence and the organizations that are involved in and responsible for containing and cleaning up a spill.  

“First and foremost, while oil spills can and do happen in Canada, they are extremely rare. And fortunately, Canada has an extensive and proactive system in place that will help the clean-up and minimize damage from a spill,” says Paul Blomerus, Executive Director of Clear Seas. The spills that do happen in Canada are mostly small (67% of ship-source spills between 2003-2012 were under 1,000 litres), originating from fishing boats and pleasure craft or classed as mystery spills. 

Mr. Blomerus says that given the concerns Canadians have around shipping oil and gas by ship expressed in the latest Clear Seas survey, the page will be a timely addition to the public policy discussion around oil spill response and setting response standards. 

You can visit the page and learn about Canada’s response efforts here. 

Tankers have been safely conducting incident free business on the coast of British Columbia for many decades. Photo: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
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