Meeting Dale R Lindsey: The Coming Threat to BC's West Coast Ecology
by Ingmar Lee - 10,000 Ton Tanker
October 28, 2016
Please share this far and wide. People need to understand that even as the Nathan E Stewart disaster continues to unfold, it is business as usual for the use of the BC Inside Passage as a petroleum conduit for Alaska-bound tankers...
Friends, here is bad news.
Over the past few days I have been submitting questions to Pacific Pilotage Authority CEO, Captain Kevin Obermeyer. This morning I asked the Captain about the American ATB tug/tanker unit, the "Dale R Lindsey," which is a "pusher tug" similar to the Nathan E Stewart, and which also pushes a 10,000 deadweight ton petroleum tanker barge. As you can see by my previous post, the "Dale R Lindsey" transited from Alaska southbound through the BC Inside Passage and is currently about to pass through Seymour Narrows and into the Salish Sea.
Here's a glimpse into what's behind Alaska-based 'Petromarine Services" new ATB pusher-tug that will now threaten this coast. To understand what's coming, check out the video of the launching of the "Dale R. Lindsey" -and then weep...
I asked Obermeyer if the passage of the "Dale R Lindsey" through the BC Inside Passage now signalled the resumption of regular American petroleum shipments up the BC Inside Passage to Alaska. His answer, I regret, is yes.
Once the "Dale R Lindsey" loads up with 10,000 deadweight tons of petroleum product, it may then immediately head back north, through the Salish Sea, but when it passes through Seymour Narrows, the American Captain must now saunter up to the wheelhouse and be on the bridge while the vessel passes through the Narrows. After than he may leave the wheelhouse, and return below. Then the ATB tanker will continue all the way (barring any accident) through Johnstone Strait. After passing through Queen Charlotte Sound, the "Dale R Lindsey" is now required to proceed directly into Hecate Strait. It will not have the option of entering the comparatively calmer waters of Fitzhugh Channel Even in the event of a storm.
Over the past year, the Nathan E Stewart has, for the most part chosen to take the Hecate Strait route, (I have been told by a reliable source that this was because they preferred not to be met and accompanied by myself while passing Bella Bella!) however, whenever it was stormy, the Nathan E Stewart and other tug/tanker vessels would take the Fitzhugh, Johnson Channel and Return Passage route, presumably, I believe, because these vessels are unseaworthy, dangerous and uncomfortable in rough seas. Now they no longer have that option. Don't get me wrong, I hate that these vessels were skulking around avoiding Bella Bella, and sneaking through these narrow channels during storms, but it is much more dangerous now that travelling by Hecate Strait is their only option.
Having passed by the Goose Islands, as you can read in the PPA press release I posted earlier, with the new regulations, amazingly, the Captain of the loaded ATB tanker "Dale R Lindsey" will have to saunter back up to the wheelhouse again as the vessel passes about 25 miles abeam of Bella Bella. After passing Bella Bella, he may then return to his bunk, presumably leaving the wheelhouse to a single, solitary helmsperson. Continuing on northwards, if a storm is too severe, the Captain of the "Dale R Lindsay" will have the option to enter Laredo Sound, and travel via Laredo, and Principe Channels and on to Alaska.
Friends, in my opinion the Pacific Pilotage Authourity's new requirements for petroleum tankers traversing the full length of the BC Inside Passage DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve the safe protection of this coast. Instead, they make this ugly, nasty business EVEN MORE RISKY.
Additionally it is a DREADFUL INSULT that this disgusting, filthy business is being allowed to resume, even before the horrific Nathan E Stewart disaster has even begun to be resolved.
Furthermore, -not that I believe that a requirement of having Canadian Pilots would make any difference at all to the risk these tankers present,- furthermore CANADIAN PILOTS ARE NOT REQUIRED to be aboard these American tankers.
And finally, I am sorry to inform you, turns out it is not true that the Texas-based Kirby Corporation has been barred from BC waters pending the investigation of the Nathan E Stewart disaster, as have been previously celebrated on this page. In fact, the Kirby Corporation continues to operate its much, much larger ATB tankers that push enormous loads of petroleum product through the Salish Sea between the Kinder Morgan Westridge terminal in Burnaby, and the gigantic Tesoro crude refinery at Anacortes. They have simply carried on plying their business as though the Nathan E Stewart catastrophe never happened.
So, so sorry friends, to be the bearer of this BAD, BAD NEWS...