Tanker rules

Resident concerned about the safety of oil tankers on B.C.'s coast

The item on the tough tanker rules needs some comment.

There are a few facts about tankers that are not mentioned in any of the government issues about them.

All tankers share a common problem, one engine.

Double hulls will provide an extra safeguard against spills but are no guarantee. A tanker grounded on a rocky shore will still eventually have the inner hull punctured by rough seas grinding the ship back and forth on the rocks.

While modern marine engines are very reliable, they can, and still do, break down from time to time.  I know from personal experience.   The bigger the engine, the longer it takes to fix, especially when in very rough seas.

While being repaired, the ship is drifting and violent storms, strong currents and winds can drive that ship back to shore in a very short time. The government and Enbridge both claim there will be a tug attached until the tanker is well out to sea, but if a violent storm occurs and an engine breakdown as well, you have a real problem.

If the tug has returned to base, by the time it can come back to assist it will probably be too late. Also, even if it does come back, getting a heavy steel tow line on to the tanker will be virtually impossible in heavy seas.

The recent cruise ship episode in the Gulf of Mexico  had four tugs towing it to port in calm seas and one of them had a cable break under the strain.

How then does the government expect one tug to be of any use trying to control a tanker of more than 200,000 tons in very stormy seas?   The cruise ship was 130,000 tons and needed four to do the job.

We are fed up with Enbridge and the government and their misleading TV ads.

They are deliberately trying to minimize the risks that are involved with the pipeline and tankers. Even with the jobs that will be created, the risks are too high.


Noel Tyler