Oil tankers a low risk for coast

The B.C. NDP and environmental organizations policy on tanker traffic plays to the lack of knowledge

The B.C. NDP and environmental organizations such as the Dogwood Foundation and other’s policy on tanker traffic, plays to the lack of knowledge of the average B.C. resident with respect to maritime shipping, the design of ships and what they carry as fossil fuels.

Modern day tankers are safer than all of the other ships that ply our waters with respect to the risk of marine oil spills. Modern day tankers must be constructed with double hulls, with at least two meters of separation of the oil tank from the outside hull of the ship.

The tanker is also sub-divided into numerous individual oil tanks so that  catastrophic  damage to one part of the ship will not allow spillage from the other tanks.

If both the ports of Kitimat/Prince Rupert and Vancouver are considered and both oil pipelines were approved (highly doubtful) the number of tankers would be of the order of 300 to 400 per year.

Additionally, tankers are even more heavily regulated with respect navigation in restricted waters and require two escort tugs, one tethered.

Now, if you consider the standard container ship that sails in our waters, it has fuel tanks that are considerably larger than the average tanker oil tank.

This fuel tank contains a thick molasses type of fuel that is only separated from the sea by the thickness of the ships steel hull, far less protection than the tanker.

Yet the number of such ships sailing from these same ports mentioned above annually are in excess of seven thousand or higher. Therefore the risk of oil fouling our pristine shores is magnitudes higher from ordinary merchant ships than the paltry number of oil tankers.

If it is deemed safe and of acceptable risk to allow thousands of merchant ships to sail our waters, it makes little sense to prevent oil tankers which are by magnitudes safer.

The NDP policy therefore makes little sense and is being used for strictly political gain and fear mongering purposes.

Policy such as this also decreases significantly the revenues that Canadians require to maintain our standard of living and to support the increasing number of social programs that NDP governments propose.

Robin Allen

Saanich