Since 1956 we’ve loaded vessels from our Burnaby marine terminal without a single spill from tanker operations. The region’s already robust marine safety regime is well managed, with important risk controls for all traffic and for oil tankers in particular, and meets global standards.

Should the proposed expansion proceed, tanker traffic to our Westridge Marine Terminal is expected to grow from approximately five tankers per month to 34. The size of tankers calling at Westridge in future will not change, the largest tankers will remain as Aframax-size vessels. The 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’ve identified and proposed additional measures that will build on the current marine safety regime and further mitigate risk due to increased tanker traffic. Once implemented, they are expected to raise the level of care and safety in the region to well above globally-accepted shipping standards. A number of these measures are already underway.

Four marine safety improvements already underway

  • Port of Vancouver will establish a shipping channel for East Burrard Inlet (east of Second Narrows Bridge) by which other passing vessels will maintain a suitable distance from the Westridge berths
  • Laden tanker tug escort has recently been expanded to cover the entire Strait of Georgia and will be further expanded to cover the entire tanker shipping route including the Juan de Fuca Strait between Race Rocks and Buoy J located near the 12 nautical mile limit of Canada’s Territorial Sea
  • Pilot disembarkation will be extended to take place near Race Rocks further west than the pilot boarding station on Brotchie Ledge in Victoria, for which purpose pilots have been trained to disembark by helicopter
  • Enhanced Situation Awareness techniques have been developed and are being progressively implemented:
    • Safety calls by pilots and masters of laden tankers
    • Notice to industry has been issued by Pacific Pilotage Authority
    • Tactical use of escort tug along shipping route
    • Boating safety engagement and awareness program led by Pacific Pilotage Authority

Find out more about tanker safety, our marine emergency management plans and proposed oil spill response enhancement for the Salish Sea here.