Tanker traffic could mean safety restrictions for recreational boating and fishing on Douglas Channel

The TERMPOL report issued today on the increased tanker traffic on Douglas Channel may mean restrictions not only on the tankers themselves, as proposed by Enbridge, but also safety restrictions on recreational boaters and both commercial and recreational fishing.

The appendix to the report says:

The collision risk for the proposed tankers is assessed to be low.  Therefore, the effect of implementing the traffic scheme would also be low, and the potential effect on oil spill risk very limited.

However a traffic separation scheme would make it easier for small recreational crafts in the area to keep out of the way of passing larger vessels as they would know which side the tankers would transit.

It also says:

Fishing openings in the waters of Douglas Channel and Principle Channel may affect the timing of vessel transits.

The proponent proposes to establish a Fisheries Liaison Committee  that will include Aboriginal, commercial and local fisheries representatives who will provide advice on means to reduce the routine effects of the terminal operations and vessel movements on marine fisheries and other marine users. The committee will also provide a forum for discussion of measures to be taken to mitigate  effects of hydrocarbon releases on other marine users.


While keeping out of supertankers is certain common sense navigation,  any potential sevre restrictions are likely only to increase the irritation and opposition to the project by Kitimat and coastal boaters, fishers and environmentalists.