Saturday, April 09, 2005

No Defence from This Missile

No Defence from This Missile

C. L. Cook
April 9th, 2005
Titan IV

The U.S. Defence Department has ignored Canadian requests to alter the trajectory of a scheduled April 13th launch of a Titan IV rocket. There are concerns in Newfoundland, jetisoned stage debris will fall uncomfortably close to Hibernia's offshore oil platforms. - {ape}

St John's Nfld. - The Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board has confirmed they are implementing a contingency evacuation plan for the massive Hibernia offshore oil field in wake of The U.S. Defence Department's dismissal of their request to alter a flight that will see a roughly 10,000 kilogram spent rocket tank falling within a 25 kilometer radius of the rig platforms.

Newfoundland Premier, Danny Williams testily questioned what steps the Federal government had taken to convey the full merit of his, and the consortium of international oil companies operating in Hibernia, concerns, saying:

"If Canada is going to represent us on interests like this which are international, then I expect a good stream of information, solid, consistent information to come to me as the head of a province."

For their part, Air Force Space Command spokesperson, Masao Doi reassured nervous Newfoundlanders, saying:

"Safety is a top priority for us and we do a thorough safety check on all of our boosters when we plot trajectories over international waters.''

Doi says he believes there's little chance personal injury will result the from debris plummeting into the sea. But those assurances aren't enough for the Offshore Petroleum Board. Board spokesperson, Simone Keough says their evacuation plan is moving ahead:

"The only thing that has changed in terms of our preparations is the date.''

The Titan IV launch had been scheduled earlier last week, but has suffered delays due to "technical difficulties."

Evacuation would mean shutting down the 230.000-barrel-per-day Hibernia project, at a cost estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

A spokesperson for Deputy PM, Anne McLellan says senior government officials have been talking to Washington since Thursday, and are:

"trying to get clarity on what their plans are and are expressing our concerns about the economic impact that this would have.''

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