OTTAWA, Ont.–The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA) of new and interim measures regarding waiver exemptions for smaller ships and those smaller ships transporting petroleum cargo products. These new measures have been put in place following the incident involving the tug Nathan E. Stewart in British Columbia’s Seaforth Channel.
“I welcome the new measures announced today by the Pacific Pilotage Authority. These measures will help reduce risk by strengthening marine pilotage requirements for smaller ships, including those carrying petroleum cargo products in B.C.’s coastal waters.
“The Government of Canada is working closely with the Heiltsuk Nation and other partners in dealing with this incident:
The Canadian Coast Guard is leading the incident response, in close collaboration with the Heiltsuk Nation who are overseeing activities related to clean-up efforts.
The Transportation Safety Board is carrying out a full investigation to determine causes. A Minister’s Observer has been appointed to keep me informed of the progress of their investigation.
Transport Canada is also conducting an inspection to verify compliance with Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and will take appropriate enforcement action should there be any evidence of non-compliance.
“I have instructed my officials to work closely with the Heiltsuk Nation and their representatives to build on the community’s traditional knowledge and extensive experience with weather, tide and navigation challenges in this area as Transport Canada also reviews specific aspects of the marine safety regime that will need to be strengthened in view of this incident. My first priority remains the safety and protection of the public and the environment, and that is why I am currently working on additional measures to improve marine safety in a meaningful way,” Garneau said.