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How do you think marine vessel activities affect the environment?

over 2 years ago

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  • BCresidant over 2 years ago
    There is no question that it has a negative affect. Marine vessels use bunker fuel, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. They pollute the air, the water and the seabed as their anchors scrape the sea bottom, disrupting the chain of sea life. Sitting at anchor for days on end outside of the ports in the Southern Gulf Islands, they disrupt the local residents with their air pollution, noisy engines and lights that shine 24/7. Local marine activity must detour around large freighters, costing efficiency and causing more pollution.
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  • tedfullerton over 2 years ago
    I see two very different areas of harm. One is the immediate effects very nicely explained in other comments. All I would add to these is that they are serious, beyond merely annoyance factors, and by themselves will degrade human health, property values and the environment, particularly if they are allowed to grow without limits.

    The other area is the harm from a disaster. This is what no one wants. Industry is willing to take the risk and why wouldn't they? It's not their property at risk, sure their assets are at some risk but good luck chasing them down to pay for an oil spill (see followup to the Marathassa). It's not the industry's oceans at risk, they just use them. It's not the industry's whales at risk, they are not responsible for the whales. The risk is presented as X percentage of a spill of Y volume over Z years. It's a probability. A likelihood of an event. The probabilities are always comfortingly low and therefore easy to justify. The consequences of this type of spill are huge. Missing in the risk analysis is the expected value component, multiplying each outcome by each percentage and then multiplying by the financial outcomes (think in the tens of billions of dollars for a big one, hundreds of millions for a medium size one). So, low probability times high outcome costs equals pay attention! The economic hit on western North America would be very large.

    The Pacific Pilotage Authority concluded its risk assessment of creating five new anchorage sites North of Gabriola Island saying the risk to the PPA organization (its reputation, its financial and practical viability) was acceptable. I'm glad they are satisfied and safe, they do important work. However, the risk to me, to my neighbors, my community, the environment around me, has not been addressed in any manner. This attitude is what worries me about the larger disaster risk. Given how poorly the immediate negative consequences are handled, given how poorly the risk assessments can be, I have great fears that a disaster is inevitable without serious changes to legislation and to how and when these floating factories are controlled.
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  • brian tuomi over 2 years ago
    It is proposed that the number of tankers transiting Vancouver Harbour to the sea may increase by 300%.
    The International Maritime Organization and IALA (the Coast Guards of the world) mandate that a risk assessment for marine tankers that they have approved of, should be used to determine the risk to waterways, areas of concerns and possible actions to be taken.
    Why has Transport Canada and the Coast Guard failed to complete any approved risk assessment for the tanker traffic portion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project?
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  • dcdebbiecook over 2 years ago
    The IMO has identified that the shipping industry is contributing more than 2.5% to world carbon dioxide emissions. We also know that bio-security risks of introduced marine species that are transported around the world on ships are creating havoc in many global marine ecosystems. Add to this the potential for oil spills, scouring of the sea bed by anchors and their chains, sound and light pollution, wildlife collisions, and toxic bilge water contamination that shipping activity generates and you can only conclude that the environment is at unimaginable risk from this type of marine vessel. The South Coast of BC is currently under threat as increasing numbers of large ships are using the area as parking spaces before berthing in Port of Vancouver. We know the risks this type of activity poses for this unique marine ecosystem. There are clearly articulated alternatives for containing shipping activity within port boundaries and we cannot make the mistake of accepting that there is a need for one of North America's key marine environments to become an industrial parking lot.
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  • Ruby Chapman over 2 years ago
    The harmful effects of freighter anchorages in the Gulf Islands and Southern Georgia Strait are felt by the many and diverse species of this rich marine ecosystem. Scouring of the ocean floor by freighter anchor chains destroys the habitat for benthic fish and other species like glass sponges. The contaminants from ship bilge and from chronic oiling threaten beaches where forage fish lay eggs, and the foreshores that form the nursery areas for young fish. Ships at anchor run generators 24/7, causing constant underwater sound. This compromises the habitat of marine species particularly whales that rely on quiet oceans to communicate and hunt for their food.
    Ship maintenance like scraping of the hull at anchor releases contaminants. Non-native marine species attached to the hull are also released. These invasive species can upset the otherwise healthy balance of the local ecosystem. The negative impacts on residents of coastal communities living near the anchorages are also well documented. Local communities are exposed to unregulated air, light and noise pollution 24/7. Individual and community health, and quality of life are affected. There appears to be an absence of strong regulations and no capacity for enforcement to address these concerns. The real ‘elephant in the room’ is the very real risk of the impact of human error: ships dragging at anchor and going aground, causing a major oil spill. The results of a major spill would be catastrophic.
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  • Ruby Chapman over 2 years ago
    Marine vessels are one of the world’s major polluters. It has been estimated that 50,000 Europeans per year die prematurely due to marine vessel pollution. Marine vessels are allowed to burn dirty bunker oil that generates carbon particle and sulphur emissions. It is said that just 17 of the world’s largest ships can produce as much toxic sulphur pollution as ALL the world’s cars. Taking 2016 as an example, there were 3,105 vessel calls in the Port of Vancouver BC. Sulphur pollution is linked to breathing problems, cancer and heart disease.
    Freighters also pollute the waters with contaminants, putting at risk the habitat of marine species including the Chinook salmon that the endangered Southern Resident Killer whales rely on to survive.
    Underwater noise from freighter engines and propellers impedes whales and other marine species from communicating with each other and from hunting and finding food. The Southern Resident Killer whales are starving and at risk of extinction. Whales are also at risk from ship collisions, as the freighter traffic in the Georgia Strait passes through important Whale habitat. The Marine vessel industry has for a long time operated under a minimum of regulations with regard to environmental impact, most of them apparently voluntary. This is clearly not working. Stronger emission standards are needed. Greater attention to the impact of vessel underwater noise is needed. Stronger controls on water contamination from ships are needed. All these measures will then need to be actively enforced. The free ride is over.
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  • PAudretsch over 2 years ago
    There is no doubt that marine vessel activities, particularly freighters and tankers, have a negative impact on the environment with their noise and pollution (air, water and light). They physically disturb sea life (cetaceans, mammals, and fish) in their path and even risk striking whales. Furthermore, particulate air pollution (sulfates and nitrogen oxides produced from ships burning dirty (bunker) fuel poses a significant health risk to humans, especially for coastal communities along the path of shipping traffic. These are recognized facts, and measures, such as shipping corridors, port activities and port anchorages, have previously been put in place in an attempt to mitigate or limit the net impact. Where marine vessel activities, such as anchoring, have been allowed to take place outside designated port areas, for example in marine areas in and around B.C.'s Southern Gulf Islands, the disruptions are largely unmitigated. Ships anchor in what used to be pristine areas near residential communities and behave as they wish. Their anchors scour the ocean floor stripping every living thing from the seabed within the large (00’s of metres) swing circle of the ship. The pollution these ships produce (air, water and noise) is not only detrimental to the sea life but also causes considerable disturbance to communities affected. Ships have been known to discharge waste or bilge effluent overboard together with pollutants and the potential for alien species to be released into our waters. Ships' generators run 24/7 creating significant noise and at night the ship’s bright lighting leave nearby residents sleepless. In some of these areas transshipping of gypsum has also created noxious clouds of gypsum dust that envelope nearby residential communities, in addition to the already potentially dangerous levels of particulate pollution from the ship’s exhaust. While some ships captains abide by stipulated guidelines, many don’t and the “guidelines” are largely unenforced (unenforceable?) and their contravention is without consequences. There are currently no water use restrictions imposed on shipping similar to those in ports which designate areas for industrial use.
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  • Valcoles over 2 years ago
    The noise and confusion to cestaceans (including our native BC orcas) prevents these highly social mammals from communicating effectively with their pod, which can lead to death from propellor blows or worse, handicapped, painful final weeks. I'm a native of Vancouver and our pristine waters and abundant marine life have always been a point of civic pride, but more importantly, a sensitive treasure at our doorsteps we must guard and protect.
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  • wedwards over 2 years ago
    Freighter traffic and anchoring in Plumper Sound are having impacts on the environment and people in the following ways:
    - sound emissions while anchoring and from operating engines in transit and at anchor (generators and propulsion) noticeably disturb the ambient background, particularly at night and there are no compliance standards.
    - sound emissions from self-unloading vessels that utilize mechanical and pneumatic conveyors for the transfer of bulk materials to adjacent vessels.
    - light emissions (from exterior and interior lights).
    - impact on visual quality by interference with natural viewscapes.
    - fine particulate emissions from self-unloading vessels while transferring bulk products on windy days or with ineffective dust control equipment.
    - water pollution (spills and deck maintenance activities).
    - air pollution from engine exhausts.
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