Trans Mountain has loaded marine vessels with petroleum since 1956 without a single spill from tanker operations. Close collaboration with organizations such as the various Pilotage Authorities, Government organizations (Transport Canada and Canadian Coast Guard) and Port Metro Vancouver ensure that tankers navigate our local waters safely and are guided in and out of the port by highly-trained and qualified Pilots. Tankers themselves are held to strict internationally accepted build, manning, maintenance and operating quality standards mandated by the International Maritime Organization and Canadian Shipping Act and verified by Class Societies. Additionally, marine-based spill response plans ensure quick action in the event of a spill.
Before a nominated vessel is accepted for scheduling it must go through pre-acceptance. This ensures that all aspects of the tanker including its age, design, crew and past operating history has been properly reviewed and approved. Only double-hull tankers of modern design and construction are accepted. Additionally, the vessel must also have an agreement with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) regarding spill response before they can be loaded at Westridge.
At least 24 hours prior to arrival in Canadian waters, vessels must provide notice to the Canadian Coast Guard. The Canadian Coast Guard monitors the vessel’s progress throughout its passage to Vancouver.
When the vessel is off Victoria, a pilot from the Pacific Pilotage Authority boards it. This pilot is responsible for the safe transit of the vessel, guiding it to the Westridge Terminal.
A Trans Mountain Loading Master, a master mariner and experienced tanker captain, conducts a physical inspection once the vessel arrives in Port Metro Vancouver. Before loading operations commence, the Loading Master conducts a ship-shore safety meeting with ship's officers and terminal personnel to discuss terminal procedures and emergency protocols. Upon completion of this meeting, the vessel is safely loaded at Westridge Terminal.
Once docking is complete, the ship is enclosed by a floating boom to provide containment in case of any possible spill at the dock.
A Trans Mountain Loading Master remains onboard throughout the loading operation. The Loading Master ensures that the vessel is fully prepared for loading and oversees the complete loading process to maintain effective procedures and communications. He or she will also supervise the disconnection of the loading arms.
Transport Canada Inspection
Transport Canada inspects tanker vessels on their first call to Westridge and annually thereafter. Canada is a signatory to international agreements that provide inspections conducted in other ports by other countries.
After completing loading operations and verifying the quantity of oil loaded, the vessel is secured for its departure from the berth. Two qualified Canadian pilots board the vessel at Westridge Terminal and they guide the navigation of the vessel through Vancouver harbor and during the complete transit to waters near Victoria.
Powerful tugs capable of controlling the tanker in the event of a steering or propulsion system failure are tethered to the vessel as it transits the Port of Vancouver and thereafter escorts it to open waters. Port Metro Vancouver and the Pacific Pilotage Authority have issued requirements for tethered tugs through Second Narrows and through Boundary Pass and Haro Straight.