Monthly report 9: Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Commercial Anchorages

From: Transport Canada

The Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages came into effect on February 8, 2018.

This report is for November 1 to December 31, 2018.

Highlights for November and December

Aerial surveillance

  • Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) continued its inspection by air of coastal areas and completed:
    • 22 coastal flights with visual inspections of 1425 ships in November
    • 16 coastal flights with visual inspections of 1026 ships in December
  • NASP detected and reported pollution coming from small vessels and sunken craft in both months
    • We didn’t see any pollution from commercial freighters at anchor

Data set for November and December

We have posted the full updated data set for anchorage use for November and December. The data includes new charts showing the distribution of goods such as wheat and steel.

To access the data:

Recent questions and activities

M.V. Strimon

In late November, we received many questions about the fuel tanker M. V. Strimon that anchored in Plumper Sound. Most coastal residents know that tankers usually go directly to port, load their product and leave right away.

Tankers follow stricter regulations for their construction and operation than do other bulk carriers, so the ship’s anchoring caused no increased environmental risk. However, because tankers do not usually anchor, we wanted to know the reason. We determined that the ship was empty and waiting to depart to Ferndale in the United States.

Suggestions from the community

Some community representatives expressed concerns about the situation. Two of their suggestions included:

  • Ships should only be allowed to anchor in Canada if their destination is a port in Canada
  • Canada should charge an anchoring fee

We are considering these suggestions as part of the National Anchorages Initiative (PDF, 309 KB).

Desert Oasis

The Transport Canada regional offices and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) also received many complaints about the ship Desert Oasis. This grain carrier was anchored on the south coast three separate times between visits to the port for loading.

Residents complained that the ship was:

  • anchored for too long, at almost 2 months
  • making too much noise

Our response to the complaints

In addition to the issues raised by the complaints, we thought the way the ship was operating added to costs and environmental impact. For example, the ship was staying at anchor for long periods. The ship was also moving every 7 to 10 days to different ports.

To respond to these concerns, we:

  • contacted the ship’s operators and asked them to reduce noise
  • are reviewing arrival and loading management practices used in other major ports to see if they could be adapted for Canada
  • are reaching out to industry to find out if the supply chain could be improved to reduce the need for anchoring outside a port

Other complaints

In early January, many coastal residents complained about a container ship sitting at anchor at Plumper D. The ship was onsite for only a few hours due to a last-minute delay in clearing the berth in the Port of Vancouver. However, many residents felt that terminals need to communicate better with arriving ships to ensure just-in-time arrivals.

Logging operators working near the Ladysmith anchorages complained to us that they can’t unload barges when sites B and C are both busy. The VFPA is adjusting the computer system that assigns anchorages to make sure site B and C are not busy at the same time. We will follow the activities closely after this change, and follow up with logging companies after a 6-month period.

Contact us

If you have comments or suggestions about anchorages, please:

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