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

Castlegar police seek dawn home intruder

Man walked into house at 4 a.m., asks son about mother

Trail police looking for male suspect driving red van

RCMP report the man asked a young boy to get in his vehicle

Four fires still burning in West Kootenay

More than 25 fires were started by lightning in the last week.

Nuclear medicine temporarily suspended at KBRH

Upgrades expected to be in service by end of September

OPINION: Kootenay tech sector is on the rise and everyone is noticing

Community Comment by Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read