A container ship in dock, having it’s cargo unloaded. (Associated Press File)

Green Party calls Salish Sea ‘free parking lot for world’s largest container ships’

MP Elizabeth May rails against Port of Vancouver, Transport Canada and impact on local environment

The Greens have accused the Port of Vancouver of “mismanagement,” saying the waters around the southern Gulf Islands have been turned into “a free parking lot for the world’s largest container ships.”

That’s according to a recent written statement, where the Greens call on Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to look at the issue.

ALSO READ: Scuba scientists help save endangered marine life off Vancouver Island

“The presence of these freighters anchoring in the Salish Sea is incredibly disruptive to my constituents and the local environment,” said Green Party leader and M.P. for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May. “Transport Canada’s decision to extend the Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages is simply not acceptable.”

Paul Manly, M.P. for Nanaimo-Ladysmith echoes May’s concerns, saying that not only are local residents suffering from noise and light pollution, there’s also dust from maintenance work, sewage being dumped into the water and damage to the ocean floor caused by dragging anchors.

“Residents of Thetis Island and Ladysmith are also being affected and they’re calling for an immediate moratorium on these anchorages,” he said.

According to Transport Canada’s website there is no formal process to regulate the practices of ships anchored outside ports.

“Residents have not been properly consulted by Transport Canada nor have they been updated on the status of these ships,” said May. “Surely it would have been common courtesy for Transport Canada to ensure that these early measures occurred? The Salish Sea is a sensitive ecosystem, home to endangered species like the southern resident killer whale whose habitat is being constantly invaded and threatened by the presence of these vessels.

ALSO READ: New photos help identify mystery creature found on Peninsula beach

“I therefore ask Transport Canada to have the freighters using southern B.C. anchorages removed by the end of June, when the protocol was supposed to end, and find another solution to traffic jams in the Port of Vancouver. Residents and wildlife should not have to suffer for the mistakes of Transport Canada.”

The Port of Vancouver responded with a written statement.

“Growing trade demands have led to increasing demand for anchorages, often in excess of Port of Vancouver capacity. When all Port of Vancouver anchorages are in use, ships anchor outside of port jurisdiction, including around the Gulf Islands.”

They go on to say that Gulf Island anchorages fall with the jurisdiction of Transport Canada and they are only assisting them. They say they have set time limits for anchorage use, added three extra anchorages in English Bay and avoid assigning ships to Gulf Islands anchoarages whenever possible.

ALSO READ: Deep Cove Mermaid raises eco-issues swimming Mexico, backed by Mexican Navy

Transport Canada said they launched the Anchorages Initiative in 2017 and an interim protocol was enacted in February 2018. They say they are presently engaged in a period of careful consultation with stakeholders.

In a written statement, Transport Canada wrote, “It is important to note that in Canada, as in many other countries, the right to anchor a vessel is part of the common law of navigation. A ship is free to anchor temporarily and for a reasonable period of time in any appropriate location.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan CMHA officials respond to report, probation order

“there are important improvements needed to ensure greater fairness within our housing program.”

Cowichan RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Editorial: Minimal risk in sending kids back to school

Time to poke our heads out of our comfortable nests and venture out into the world again.

Water in Lake Cowichan just fine, says acting mayor

Tim McGonigle said there is no truth to rumours of water advisories

Cowichan Caps help BCHL score commitment record

The BCHL saw 172 players commit to post-secondary institutions this past season

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read