Concerns over Canadian Coast Guard response to English Bay oil spill in Vancouver

Petition: 381

Issue(s): Governance, human/environmental health, toxic substances, transport, water

Petitioner(s): Resident of Canada

Petitioner Location(s): Chilliwack, British Columbia

Date Received: 12 June 2015

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: On 8 April 2015, bunker oil leaked from a bulk carrier ship anchored in English Bay in Vancouver, British Columbia. The petition requests information from the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) about its actions in response to this oil spill. The petition references public concerns about the adequacy and timeliness of the federal government response to the spill. In particular, the petition cites the closure of CCG Station Kitsilano (also referred to as the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station or Kitsilano Base) as a critical concern related to the CCG’s ability to respond to emergencies in English Bay. The petition asserts that closures of CCG bases and communications stations have affected the CCG’s ability to provide a timely and adequate response to oil spills from ships.

The petition cites two additional concerns that may have affected the CCG’s ability to respond to this spill: the qualifications and training of CCG staff, and the impact of restructuring the Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) system. The petition asserts that information provided by the CCG to date may be inaccurate and asks for clarification and explanations.

The petition asks for documentation explaining the rationale for closing the CCG Station Kitsilano as well as the MCTS centres in Vancouver and Tofino, British Columbia. The petition also asks for documentation on the training programs in the Western Region and information on how qualified CCG Station Kitsilano staff were to respond to oil spills prior to the station’s closure.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Fisheries and Oceans Canada