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Earthquake near Haida Gwaii and dangers of proposed Enbridge tanker routes

The recent earthquake near Haida Gwaii area (formerly known as Queen Charlotte Island) and tsunami advisory along the BC coast raises some vital questions about tankers amid debate on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The current Northern Gateway tanker routes would bring oil tankers near the area where the earthquake and small tsunami waves hit off the BC coast. 

Earthquake location map from Natural Resources Canada 


Northern Gateway tanker route map from Nature Canada.

Given the location, what would have happened if a large oil tanker carrying bitumen oil was in the area at the time that the earthquake struck?

"I'm sure Enbridge and Kinder Morgan were, like many of us last night, thinking about the connection between earthquakes, tsunamis and the dangers of transporting bitumen through our coastal waters," Wilderness Committee campaigner Ben West said. 

"This should serve as yet another reminder that these pipeline and tanker projects represent a very serious threat."

A response from Enbridge is pending at the time of publication. 

Master Mariner Mal Walsh, a marine and oil expert who has over 40 years of experience in international oil exploration and shipping, noted in two previous articles in The Vancouver Observer that while he does not oppose pipelines, the tanker routes proposed by Enbridge pose a serious risk to the BC coast. 

"The Enbridge tanker transport proposal, in its current form, represents too great a risk to a remote and still pristine area of BC’s Central Coast, a region of this coast that is exposed to the most severe winter weather conditions," Walsh wrote in July.

While earthquake risks were not the focus of his argument, he referenced "hostile" weather conditions near the Queen Charlotte Sound that could represent a threat to the coast in the event of a bitumen oil spill.  

"Kitimat operates a port situated over 100 nautical miles from the open hostile waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound and the Dixon Entrance. It is reached through navigationally difficult and narrow channels, and clearly represents a cheaper fix for the pipeline termination point for tar sands bitumen export. It shows again the lack of respect given to the power of the sea and the vagaries of human error or mechanical breakdown."

"Consider that we are talking about at least an additional 250 VLCC (Very Large Crude Carriers) tanker movements a year," he also explained. 

"Residents of the South coast have experienced severe winter gales this year and the central coast gets them in spades. Do we really think that the high level of shipping proposed would operate without problems, year in and year out? And this is not only considering the narrow channels of the port approach, but even more critically in the open ocean of the offshore approaches to the coast."

Ministry of Environment spokesperson Karen Johnston stressed that in the case of any oil spills, the "polluter pays" principle applies.

"Responsibility for all spills rests with the spiller. The provincial Environmental Management Act establishes a polluter-pay model under which spillers are held accountable for costs associated with spills," she told The Vancouver Observer.

During a marine spill event, the province's environment ministry would coordinate a response with with the Provincial Emergency Program and the federal government, she said.

"In the case of [Saturday night]'s earthquake off Haida Gwaii, there are no other reports of any damage received, however, further assessments will be carried out during daylight hours."

 

The earthquake, Old Masset economic development officer John Disney said, was harrowing: 

"The quake shook pictures etc off the walls in Masset and made the water in our water cooler slosh out onto the floor. The house shook and groaned ... there were many noticeable aftershocks. We all evacuated both Old Massett and Masset because of the tsunami warning... 

"We have the top two earthquake records in Canada now and really we take it in stride. We have earthquakes here all the time." 

Stay tuned to The Vancouver Observer as we update on the north BC earthquake. 


For more, read: 

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Comments

Exxon Valdez

Remember the Exxon Valdez.

Tsunamis

Do you know how big the largest tsunami in that area was measured at?

17cm.

A 4 year old could walk through that.

 

Everything that happens on earth was NOT put there to support your agenda.

 

Enbridge's pipeline

god works in mysterous ways, and perhaps a little devone intervention happened last night with that quake...it couldn't have happened at a worse time for Enbridge. Northern Gateway is dead, there isn't a northern BCer alive who felt that quake that will allow those pipelines in BC. It would have torn the pipeline to shreds.

But it does support our

But it does support our agenda.  Of course not everything will support it, but earthquakes, voilent weather, thousands of streems and rivers, pristine wilderness and oceans and wildlife abound are part of our agenda.  Tar sands are bad and this pipeline is a bad idea.  Most BC'ers think it is, we dont want it at any cost. 

A tsunami might hit! Don't do that!! \o/

Earl Richards wrote:
Remember the Exxon Valdez.

 

Yes, do that. And at the same time remember the captian was drinking, not a tsunami. If you want to go by this kind of argument, then we shouldn't allow ANY development of shipping to occur out of BC cause it might get hit by a tsunami. More hazardous materials then just oil get shipped out of ports you know. Shut it ALL down if you want to buy this as a legitimate argument. And then you can sit around wondering why unemployment is so high. Hell, a tsunami could wipe out Vancouver and Victoria like those towns and cities in Japan. Abandon them NOW.

Supports agenda

laura wrote:

But it does support our agenda.  Of course not everything will support it, but earthquakes, voilent weather, thousands of streems and rivers, pristine wilderness and oceans and wildlife abound are part of our agenda.  Tar sands are bad and this pipeline is a bad idea.  Most BC'ers think it is, we dont want it at any cost. 

Yeah, just like the hurricane of the east coast supports the agenda of Islamists saying it's a slap in the face of America, while ignoring the weather slaps that could be a diss to them. 

 It's oil, not tar. You don't refine oil from tar. That is just agengist propaganda gobbled up by useful idiots. I guess if earthquakes means don't develop, then abandon ALL development, since NONE of it is without impact. Go back to living a hunter gather lifestyle. All the oil sands is is the world's largest naturally occuring oil spill being cleaned up. But, of course, since it isn't being done perfectly to the standards of hypocrites, it's EEEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLLLLLL! Like the fru-its, of the Devil.

Maurice

Maurice Hilarius wrote:

Do you know how big the largest tsunami in that area was measured at?

17cm.

A 4 year old could walk through that.

 

Everything that happens on earth was NOT put there to support your agenda.

 

 

You're a douche.