On the afternoon of Wednesday April 8th there was an oil spill in Vancouver’s English Bay and Stanley Park. Approximately 2,700 litres of toxic bunker oil leaked from a the vessel M/V Marathassa and fowled Vancouver’s beaches.
International shipping expert Joe Spears called the incident a wake-up call saying that the clean up effort was anything but world class. “We’ve got to do better,” he said. We’re Canada’s largest port. We’ve lost our way. Response to the spill was slow and inadequate.
While the spill was first noticed on Wednesday afternoon, it was almost 12 hours later (around midnight) that the source of the spill was confirmed. Although the full extent of the impact on the fragile marine ecosystem is not known at this point, there have been reports that birds, seals and other wildlife have been impacted by the spill.
A number of commentators said the spill underscores concern for spills from proposed pipeline expansions which would significantly increase tanker traffic in BC’s coastal waters. If the government cannot handled a small spill, the consequences of a large spill could prove calamitous.
Cleanup efforts are almost complete on the water and the effort is now focusing on shorelines.