Canada passes bill banning oil tankers in BC waters

(Representative photo only)

The Canadian senate has passed a bill restricting oil tankers in the waters along the northern coast of British Columbia.

Bill C-48, otherwise known as the Oil Transport Moratorium Act, formalises a 1972 federal government policy decision to impose a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic through Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Specifically, vessels carrying in excess of 12,500 tonnes of crude oil or persistent oil such as partially upgraded bitumen will be prohibited from stopping or unloading at ports or marine installations located along BC’s northern coast.

The bill, which was passed with 49 votes in favour and 46 against plus one abstention, is in line with a moratorium on tanker traffic promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government in 2015.

Marc Garneau, Canada’s Transportation Minister, has tweeted that the moratorium would help protect the ecosystem in the northern BC region, an area which includes the Great Bear Rainforest.

Conservative legislators meanwhile said in a statement that the bill was an “open and transparent attack on Canada’s oil and gas sector.”

The country’s economy could lose up to billions of dollars in the subsequent landlocking of energy exports that the legislation would cause, said MPs Kelly Block and Shannon Stubbs.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!