To Minister of Transport: Tell freighters no more free parking in the Salish Sea

OTTAWA – Mismanagement in the Port of Vancouver has turned the waters around the southern Gulf Islands into a free parking lot for the world’s largest freighter ships, says Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

“The presence of these freighters anchoring in the Salish Sea is incredibly disruptive to my constituents and the local environment,” said Ms. May. “Transport Canada’s decision to extend the Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages is simply not acceptable.

Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith) said that not only are local residents suffering from noise and light pollution, there’s also dust from maintenance work, sewage being dumped into the water and damage to the ocean floor from dragging anchors. “Residents of Thetis Island and Ladysmith are also being affected and they’re calling for an immediate moratorium on these anchorages,” said Mr. Manly.

According to Transport Canada’s website there is no formal process to regulate the behaviour of ships anchored outside port boundaries.

“Residents have not been properly consulted by Transport Canada nor have they been updated on the status of these ships,” said Ms. May. “Surely it would have been common courtesy for Transport Canada to ensure that these early measures occurred? The Salish Sea is a sensitive ecosystem, home to endangered species like the southern resident killer whale whose habitat is being constantly invaded and threatened by the presence of these vessels.

“I therefore ask Transport Canada to have the freighters using southern B.C. anchorages removed by the end of June, when the protocol was supposed to end, and find another solution to traffic jams in the Port of Vancouver. Residents and wildlife should not have to suffer for the mistakes of Transport Canada.”