Trans Mountain has loaded marine vessels with oil at the Westridge Marine Terminal since 1956 without a single spill from tanker operations.

With the expansion, tanker traffic to Westridge Marine Terminal is expected to grow to approximately 34 tankers per month. The size of tankers calling at Westridge will not change with the largest tankers remaining Aframax-size vessels. These vessels will continue to use the well-established commercial shipping route between Vancouver Harbour and the Pacific Ocean through the Salish Sea.

As part of our Application to the National Energy Board, we proposed additional risk controls and enhancements, which will build on the current marine safety regime. Once implemented, they are expected to raise the level of care and safety in the study area to well above globally-accepted shipping standards. 

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Proposed Additional Measures to Mitigate Navigation Risk

Trans Mountain has identified additional precautionary risk control measures that will further mitigate risk due to increased tanker traffic. These measures, some of which are already implemented and do not depend on the Project, include:

  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is planning to establish a shipping channel for East Burrard Inlet (east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, Second Narrows Crossing)
  • Tug escort of outbound laden tankers will be expanded to cover the entire tanker shipping route through the Strait of Georgia and between Race Rocks and the Juliet Buoy at the western entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait
  • Pilot disembarkation will be extended to take place near Race Rocks instead of Victoria (pilots have been trained to disembark by helicopter)
  • Enhanced Situational Awareness techniques will be applied that will require:
    • Safety calls by pilots and masters of laden tankers
    • Notices to industry issued by Pacific Pilotage Authority
    • Tactical use of escort tug along shipping route
    • Boating safety engagement and awareness program led by Pacific Pilotage Authority

Download a fact sheet about the additional proposed marine safety enhancements.

Proposed Oil Spill Response Enhancements for the Salish Sea

Proposed response enhancements are based on the results of risk assessment, product testing, oil spill modelling and engagement, and would create an increased response area for the Salish Sea and Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) will implement the enhancements and will double WCMRC’s existing response capacity while cutting in half the delivery time of existing planning standards.

  • More than $150 million investment in WCMRC
  • Creation of more than 100 new jobs
  • Establishing five new response bases and adding new vessels at strategic locations along BC’s southern shipping lane. Three of the bases call for 24/7 operations, including a new Vancouver Harbour base
  • The new bases and response resources will ensure:
    • Response capacity resident in Salish Sea will be 20,000 tonnes –  twice the Tier 4 capacity by Transport Canada, additional capacity can be cascaded in if required
    • Initial response within
      • two-hour response to spill notification in the Port of Vancouver
      • six hour response to spill notification outside the Port at any location between the Port of Vancouver and the western entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait    

These proposed marine safety enhancements, along with new information about risk and mitigation of oil behaviour, will benefit Trans Mountain, and all marine waterway users.

Learn more about the existing Marine Spill Response regime and liability coverage.