BRIDGEWATER, NS, June 24, 2019 /CNW/ - When it comes to protecting marine safety, the Government of Canada's first priority is to prevent pollution incidents in our waters. Through historic investments under the Oceans Protection Plan (OPP), the government is strengthening Canada's marine safety system to better prevent on-water pollution incidents, and is enhancing our marine response plan. Targeted investments under the OPP are preserving and restoring ocean ecosystems that are impacted by marine activities like ship traffic, and providing additional resources to assess derelict boats on our coasts and waterways so they don't pollute our waters.
In recent years, the government has made historic investments to build up the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard and strengthen marine environment protections. Today, Minister of Rural Economic Development Bernadette Jordan, on behalf of Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson, is announcing that the Coast Guard will begin assessing the threat of potential marine pollution posed by the Cormorant in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. This assessment of the Cormorant is a real step forward to determining the best course of action in understanding the potential impacts of possible ocean pollution on our waters.
The Canadian Coast Guard will continue to take actions to address environment threats and ensure the effective protection of our surrounding ecosystem, as well as, first and foremost, the security of Atlantic coastal communities. Other assessments have already started on other high priority vessels in Atlantic Canada, including the Caruso, and the Tug Trans in Marie Joseph, Nova Scotia.
To further strengthen our government's proactive approach to preventing incidents, new authorities for the Coast Guard will be enacted under Bill C-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessel Act (WAHVA). These new actions will improve the Canadian Coast Guard's ability to respond, to ensure that vessels posing a potential threat to the health and safety of coastal communities, and the environment, are dealt with. Assessments of vessels that pose a potential threat to our marine environment in Atlantic Canada, such as the Cormorant, are critical to ensuring the health and safety of our coastal communities. It is precisely these technical assessments that help us to understand the risks of pollution from ships like this and help us prioritize our response.
"Today we announced the start of a technical assessment for the Cormorant, along with other vessels that are believed to pose a pollution threat. This is an important first step in protecting the marine environment and our coastal communities from any pollution threat posed by vessels that are secured in our ports, which have not been in operation for a long period of time, have minimal or no owner oversight, and no ongoing maintenance."
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development
"Our government is building up the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard to assess the risks posed by wrecked or abandoned vessels in our waterways, and to help prioritize our response. The technical assessment of the Cormorant is a key investment under our world class Oceans Protection Plan. An investment that will help keep our waters cleaner, safer and healthier. This commitment to our coastal communities is critical to ensuring they have the opportunity to earn their living both from and on the sea."
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- The Canadian Coast Guard has conducted technical assessments on other high priority vessels recently, such as the Caruso and the Tug Craig Trans in Marie Joseph, Nova Scotia, in order to prioritize response in the future.
- The Canadian Coast Guard will use all of the powers obtained in the newly revised Canada Shipping Act 2001, the Marine Liability Act, and the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessel Act (WAHVA), to protect communities and the environment from pollution threats posed by vessels. These changes will strengthen ocean environmental protection and response. Including by:
- enhancing safeguards to protect marine ecosystems, and marine mammals from the impacts of shipping and boat traffic;
- strengthening the Canadian Coast Guard's authorities to enact a more proactive, faster, and more effective response to potential ship-source incidents; and,
- modernizing Canada's Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund, including making unlimited compensation available to responders and victims of a ship-source marine incidents.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region
For further information: Jocelyn Lubczuk, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 343-548-7863, [email protected]; Media Relations, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 613-990-7537, [email protected]