Saturday, November 24, 2012
Two Near Misses in Two Days
Two shipping near misses off Kitimat in two days. Thursday the deep sea freighter, Tern Arrow, lost engine power and wound up drifting for three hours in Laredo Sound south of Kitimat. You won't see this in any Enbridge ads but the ship was adrift in 40 knot winds and heavy seas, very far from the worst conditions that often prevail in that area.
On Tuesday night, a loaded German container ship had to alter course to dodge a fishing boat and ran aground on a sand bar south of Prince Rupert. Fortunately it was only sand, the hull wasn't holed and the ship was able to be pulled off the sand bar by tugs.
What's important is to keep in mind that it will only take one supertanker sinking on the north coast to create truly unimaginable ecological disaster and that nobody - not Ottawa, not Alberta, not Enbridge, not our Chinese bosses - has any idea of what to do about; a spill of bitumen blanketing the rocky bottom 600 feet down.
The north coast seas are fierce. 120-knot winds can occur. 30-metre waves have been recorded. The Hecate Strait is rated the 6th most dangerous to navigation on the planet.