Canada Invests in Double-Hulled Barges for Northern Fuel Deliveries

Yellowknife Bay, Canada
Yellowknife Bay, Canada

By The Maritime Executive 10-13-2018 07:51:57

Canada's Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, has announced an investment of $19.5 million to construct four double-hulled barges that will deliver fuel to Northern communities.

Currently, fuel is carried to some Northern communities, particularly those along the Mackenzie River watershed, in single-hulled barges. The new double-hulled barges are anticipated to minimize the risk of a fuel spill and improve the safety of community resupply operations.  

The four new double-hulled barges will be designed for safe operations on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River watershed, along the coastlines of the Northwest Territories, and delivery offshore from Tuktoyaktuk Harbour.

The $19.5 million investment is part of the $94.3 million Safety Equipment and Basic Marine Infrastructure in Northern Communities initiative under the Oceans Protection Plan. The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. 

Many northern communities rely on marine re-supply operations to receive up to 95 percent of their goods. 

In August, Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced an investment of over $175 million in seven measures to help protect Arctic waters as part of the Oceans Protection Plan. These measures include:

• $94.3 million over five years to support safer and more efficient Arctic resupply operations through the Federal Investments in Safety Equipment and Basic Marine Infrastructure in Northern Communities Initiative.

• The Government of Canada will enhance partnerships with Indigenous communities and Arctic stakeholders to establish Low Impact Shipping Corridors. The shipping routes established through these initiatives will provide the infrastructure, navigational support and emergency response services needed for safer marine navigation, while respecting the environment and local ecology and cultures.

• $29.9 million to build a new Arctic National Aerial Surveillance Program Complex in Iqaluit, Nunavut, featuring a hangar and accommodations unit, to further improve spill prevention. This investment will enhance Transport Canada's National Aerial Surveillance Program Arctic operations to keep watch over the growing number of ships operating in Canada's Arctic waters.

• $21 million over five years for Transport Canada's Marine Training Contribution Fund. This investment will enhance and expand marine training and opportunities to underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people, Northerners and women in Canada's Arctic.

• $16.89 million over five years to establish Transport Canada's Office of Incident Management, which will modernize and standardize the department's incident response processes. The Office will oversee implementation of the Incident Command System, a widely recognized and used response tool. This will improve the department's response capability in emergency situations and improve seamless coordination with other response partners.

• $13.4 million over five years to expand Transport Canada's Community Participation Funding Program. This investment will facilitate meaningful partnerships with Indigenous groups and increase their participation and input into decisions affecting Canada's marine transportation system.

• The continued expansion of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in the Arctic to bolster the nation's collective ability to respond to maritime all-hazard incidents in the future. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is made up of trained volunteers who use their own vessels to respond to incidents in Canadian waters.

Earlier this year, Garneau announced a range of coastal protection measures under the Oceans Protection Plan. Among them, Aqua-Guard Spill Response from British Columbia was awarded a $1.2 million contract for new multi-cassette portable skimmer packages to recover marine pollution spills. Over $167 million has been assigned to whale research, including the survival risks faced by the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. The ultimate aim is to implement regulatory and other measures to reduce underwater noise from vessels.