Mandatory, regular inspection of barges towing dangerous goods and On board emergency spill kits for

On Monday August 20th at 11.50 am, a barge loaded with logging equipment and other vehicles including a fuel truck carrying 10 000 litres of diesel tipped, dumping its load into 350m deep water. Almost immediately, a diesel slick appeared, working its way northwest in Johnstone Strait, soon reaching a length of 14 km. Orcas, who spend their Summers in the area, were seen swimming through the slick again and again. The implications of this event on the foodchain will not be seen for many months, maybe years to come - in an area with such a diversity of marine life - from the smallest zooplankton to the largest creatures, the whales.

The accident happened within the Boundaries of Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve, which has been a protected area under the British Columbia Act since 1982. The boundaries are clearly marked on many chart. The Bight is critical habitat for the 230 Northern Resident Orcas, who use the unique pebble beaches to rub their bodies and socialize. It also included the Tsitika River estuary, which is critical salmon habitat. There is no place like this anywhere else in the world.

Response time was very slow, as there was no one in the area who could contact a clean up immediately.

We ask the following questions:

Why was the barge not inspected before it left the dock, if it apparently was taking on water?

Why was the load not lashed onto the barge, so it couldn't shift?

Why were there no emergency spill kits on board of the tugboat, that could have been applied as first aid, to prevent the diesel from spreading?

We demand that every commercial vessel carrying or towing dangerous goods should carry a small amount of booms and absorbent material, which could be applied as "first aid" in the event of a spill - before cleanup crews can reach the scene. This is esp. important here on the BC coast, where tugs often travel very remote areas.

We demand that these barges - just like the tugboats themselves undergo regular manadatory inspections to see if they are fit to carry loads, ESPECIALLY dangerous goods.

In the case of this accident, we demand an investigation to see if the equipment on the ocean floor is still leaking fuel or oil and if it can be recovered from the ocean floor.

If they can raise artifacts from the Titanic, they surely can do this...... we have the technology.

Dear Honourable Minister Cannon,

In light of the latest barge accident on August 20th in Johnstone Strait, Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve, we, the undersigned ask the following questions:

Why were there no emergency spill kits on board of the tugboat, that could have been applied as first aid, to prevent the diesel from spreading?

Why was the barge not inspected before it left the dock, if it apparently was taking on water?

We demand that every commercial vessel should carry a small amount of booms and absorbent material, which can be applied as "first aid" in the event of a spill - before cleanup crews can reach the scene. This is esp. important here on the BC coast, where tugs often travel very remote areas.

We demand that these barges undergo regular manadatory inspections to see if they are fit to carry loads, ESPECIALLY dangerous goods.

In the case of this accident, we demand an investigation to see if the equipment on the ocean floor is still leaking fuel or oil and if it can be recovered from the ocean floor.

If they can raise artifacts from the Titanic, they surely can do this...... we have the technology.

We sincerely thank you for your time to read this letter

Sincerely,

the Undersigned

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