November 26 marked a dreadful anniversary for the tanker-bedraggled British Columbia coast. One year ago in Hecate Strait, the American ATB “pusher tug” Jake Shearer broke apart from its fully loaded 10,000 deadweight-ton capacity petroleum barge and came within a stone’s throw of destroying the most magnificent, wild and precious region of the Pacific Ocean.
There is a reasonable, pragmatic and cost-effective solution to this issue. We are not endeavouring to deprive our Alaska neighbours of their domestic fuels supply. This traffic simply needs to travel offshore in proper seaworthy ships, in the designated shipping lanes where all the rest of the tankers must go. It is only about 20% farther for them, and in the event of trouble, there would be sufficient sea-room to effect a proper rescue. It’s time the Government of Canada should stop with proffering platitudes, and step up to do something real that will prevent the next, otherwise imminent ATB disaster.