While letter-writer Brian Tuomi said he’s not suggesting heavy oil cannot be transported safely, he notes cited statistics are off. (File photo)

While letter-writer Brian Tuomi said he’s not suggesting heavy oil cannot be transported safely, he notes cited statistics are off. (File photo)

LETTERS: Very much an issue for White Rock

Editor: If you look towards Vancouver Island from White Rock, you will observe the route for tankers


Before you form an opinion…

As a maritime expert, I refer to the proposed future tanker traffic in the Strait of Georgia. If you look towards Vancouver Island from almost anywhere in White Rock, you will observe the route for tankers leaving the Port Moody facility and proceeding towards the open sea.

Under present conditions, it will take two high tides to pass through these waters. During these transits, the tankers will exit the busiest harbour in Canada with a dense mix of vessel traffic consisting of container ships, cruise ships, tugs and barges and others.

When through this obstacle course, the tankers will then navigate the traffic, the wind and the currents of the Strait of Georgia with large ferries crossing almost every half hour plus the other large vessels and the Alaska marine traffic.

The study conducted by Kinder Morgan for the National Energy Board TERMPOL requirement concluded that the frequency for a serious incident is once every 2,400 years. They let the fox count the chickens.

This is a real head-shaker, especially when a recent International Maritime Organization approved maritime risk assessment for a major Strait of Georgia Port Authority concluded that there could be an accident every 14 years. This incident level is very close to the real accident rate based on historical data.

This is not to be said that this heavy oil cannot be transported safely but, in forming an opinion on this, readers should also consider that if a serious collision or grounding involving a tanker occurs in the Strait of Georgia, the prevailing southwest winds and tides will probably carry heavy oil to the White Rock beaches.

In a serious collision or grounding, the double hull only means there are two layers of paper instead of one as the sheer momentum of hundreds of thousands of tons of ship and cargo causes the hull to fold like paper.

The smell of this oil will be overwhelming as the wind carries it up the hill, the beaches could be ruined for decades and no amount of oil boom is likely to stop this from occurring.

Brian Tuomi, White Rock

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