Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tracking the 10,000 Ton Texas Tankers

The "10,000 Ton Texas Tankers"

by Ingmar Lee

Hi all, here is a backgrounder for my proposed upcoming speaking tour of the BC Coast. I am currently seeking protocol permissions from all First Nations along the way, and am accepting donations, billeting and sponsorships for expenses and lost wages while I'm on tour. I expect to settle out the dates within the next month, and then I will appeal to friends and supporters to find venues and do postering and advertising.

There has already been an overwhelming interest in the subject and I am stoked to pass on what I have learned about this dreadful, current and widely interconnected issue. I am very confident that we can stop this nightmare traffic, and certainly, stopping these Texas tankers is the "low hanging fruit" of the larger tanker/pipeline fight!

Cheers, Ingmar

Here is video of the loaded ATB Nathan E Stewart/DBL 54 
passing Bella Bella, April 24, 2015

Here is harrowing video of the Nathan E Stewart dead in the water and
adrift off Cape Fairweather Alaska in a huge storm Nathan E. Stewart - Gulf
of Alaska, December 2011

My name is Ingmar Lee and I live on Denny Island near Bella Bella on the BC Central Coast.

My presentation will speak to the issue of the 10,000 ton capacity Texas-based petroleum tankers that currently travel secretively up and down the protected waters of the BC Inside Passage delivering petroleum products to Alaska, twice a month, about 24 trips each way, each year. My talk will be about 45 minutes with up to two hours for questions and will include photos, maps and charts, diagrams and video clips.

These vessels are called 'Articulated Tanker Barges' or ATB's, -where the tug is pinned into a large notch in the transom of its barge, from where it pushes, rather than tows it through the water. I first noticed them about 3 years ago, and as the Automatic Identification System (AIS) has become more user friendly, I have now been tracking them regularly over the past year as they make their way up and down this coast.

The ATB's are owned by the Kirby Corporation based in Texas USA, and one in particular, the tug 'Nathan E Stewart' and its 10,000 deadweight ton capacity tanker barges, DBL 54 and DBL 55 does a regular traffic carrying petroleum products from the Anacortez refinery near Bellingham Washington, and the Kinder Morgan Westridge terminal in Burnaby, all the way up the Inside Passage to Alaska. It delivers fuels to the comparatively large Alaskan coastal communities for their domestic consumption.

It should be noted that 10,000 tons is 1/4 of the estimated 40,000 ton spill volume released by the Exxon Valdez.

I have learned that these Texas ATB's operate with special waivers which exempt them from Canada Shipping Act regulations which govern the movements of all other tankers operating in BC waters. Captain Kevin Obermeyer, Chief Pilot and CEO of the Pacific Pilotage Authority has informed me that 26 special waivers have been issued to tanker barge companies operating in BC waters. These special waivers exempt ATB's like the Nathan E Stewart/DBL 54 & 55 from the requirement of two Canadian Pilots on the bridge, and they are exempt from the requirement of two escort tugs while maneuvering in Port Metro Vancouver. Most egregiously, they are exempt from the Canada Shipping Act prohibition on the movement of tankers on the Inside Passage north of Seymour Narrows.

Canadians believe that the Inside Passage along Canada's Pacific Coast is off limits to tanker traffic, and, in fact, a 'Voluntary tanker exclusion zone' which inculdes Queen Charlotte Sound, Hecate Straits and the  inside Passage is specifically written into the Canada Shipping Act. These tankers operate on this coast in blatant violation of the spirit of this exclusion zone and travel secretively, by loophole and offer neither jobs, nor monetary remuneration to the people of Canada. They present an unimaginable risk of catastrophe to the coast. Repeated polling has demonstrated that a vast majority of British Columbian's are opposed to tanker traffic here.

I am currently planning a "10,000 Ton Texas Tankers" speaking tour with stops in Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Hartley Bay, Klemtu, Bella Bella, Alert Bay, Cortes and Lasqueti Islands, Sechelt, Vancouver, Victoria, Salt Spring and Gabriola Islands, Nanaimo and Comox.

Sincerely, Ingmar Lee

Ingmar Lee
Box 60
Denny Island, BC
V0T 1B0
250 957-2920

For further information, please sign yourself up to my "10,000 Ton Tanker"
Facebook page.

No comments: