Canada Funds New Tanker Research Center

Lisa Raitt
Lisa Raitt

Published Jul 12, 2015 7:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Transport, has announced that the government of Canada is providing $3.7M to establish the Vancouver-based Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping.

The activities of the center will support the government’s commitment to protect Canada’s coasts and to enhance marine safety through the world-class tanker safety system that aims to strengthen ship-source spill prevention, preparedness and response. 

The center’s mandate is to be the leading, independent source of evidence-based information on best practices for marine shipping, including the shipping of natural resource products, and to promote and facilitate research that supports the highest standards for safe and responsible marine transportation.

Specifically, the center will:

•    Serve as a trusted, independent source for information on the safe handling and shipping of oil and gas products, including liquefied natural gas;
•    Identify and facilitate research related to the shipment of resource products;
•    Provide a forum for sharing best practices and dialogue with the public, Aboriginal groups and a broad range of stakeholders; and
•    Provide a structured framework for the ongoing research and monitoring of environmental and social impacts related to the shipment of natural resource products and to make recommendations on how spill risks can be assessed and communicated to the public.

“Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping will make a valuable contribution to the government’s commitment to protect Canada’s coasts and to strengthen marine safety through the world-class tanker safety system initiative,” said Raitt. “As an independent body governed by its own board of directors, Clear Seas will provide an important independent voice on Canada’s shipping regime.”

John Weston, member of Parliament for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, said: “Vancouver continues to make its mark as the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and this government recognizes that as we increase in commerce and traffic as a central hub for business, we must also continuously improve and strengthen our marine safety. This funding will help us to do that, at the highest standard, to ensure the safe and sustainable shipping of commodities in these valued waters.” 

The center is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Board members include:

•    Kim Baird, former Chief of Tsawwassen First Nation;
•    Duncan Wilson, Vice-President Corporate Social Responsibility at Port Metro Vancouver;
•    Kathryn Moran, President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria;
•    Bud Streeter, President of Lloyd’s Register Canada, in Halifax;
•    Roger Thomas, a retired Executive Vice-President at Nexen;
•    John Woodward, a partner in Woodcorp Investments Ltd. and a board member of Pacific Salmon Foundation;
•    John Hepburn, Vice-President, Research & International at the University of B.C.
•    Lindsay Gordon, Chancellor of the University of B.C. and former President & CEO of HSBC Bank Canada
•    Christopher Causton, former Mayor, Oak Bay, B.C.

In addition to funding from the government of Canada, the center is receiving contributions from industry (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) and the government of Alberta.

Pilot Projects

Raitt has also announced the launch of the Area Response Planning pilot project and related community participation funding program.

Area response planning is one of the government of Canada’s measures under the world-class tanker safety system that supports ship-source spill preparedness and response tailored to a particular geographic area, in collaboration with local communities, Aboriginal groups, industry and all levels of government.

The pilot areas include:

•    the southern portion of British Columbia, including Vancouver Harbour;
•    Saint John and the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick;
•    Port Hawkesbury and the Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia; and
•    St. Lawrence River (Montreal to Anticosti Island), Quebec.

In concert with this initiative, Transport Canada’s community participation funding program will support the participation of local communities and Aboriginal groups in the pilot project. The program will provide up to $2.1 million to eligible recipients starting in fall 2015 and ending in 2017. 

“Our government’s goal with world-class tanker safety is to prevent ship-source oil spills, clean them up quickly if they do happen and ensure that polluters pay,” said Raitt. “As a part of our tanker safety measures, the area response planning process will help ensure procedures are in place and equipment is readily available to plan for any scenario in specific areas.”