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

Granisle grizzlies moved

Video of the release of grizzlies getting a bit too comfortable in Granisle.

Telkwa student UNBC valedictorian

Arctica Cunningham gives her valedictorian speech May 25 at University of Northern British Columbia.

Local nurses celebrated during National Nurses Week

One nurse inspiring others to have pride in their jobs by wearing her nurse’s cap again

Second national bowling title for Madison Richter

Madison Richter, 14, is getting used to going out of town and coming home as a national champion.

International students land in Smithers

There are 20 people who came from the other side of the world to study in Smithers.

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title

Most Read