Ministers thank Tanker Safety Expert Panel for its recommendations

VANCOUVER, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Tanker Safety Expert Panel, an independent panel appointed to review Canada's current tanker safety system and to propose measures to strengthen it, today released its report, A Review of Canada's Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime—Setting the Course for the Future. The report aims to improve Canada's system for ship-source oil spill preparedness and response in order to better protect the public and the environment.

"I want to thank the panel for its detailed, thoughtful work, and the invaluable expertise they have brought to this critical issue," said The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport. "I look forward to studying the report, speaking with stakeholders about their views, and discussing it with my cabinet colleagues. The government will take all necessary actions to prevent oil spills, clean them up should they happen, and ensure that polluters pay."

"Marine shipping contributes importantly to Canadian economic growth, jobs and long-term prosperity," said The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. "The Tanker Safety report commissioned by our government provides independent, objective recommendations that will support our goal of world-class maritime safety."

The independent panel consulted with pan-Canadian industry stakeholders, spill response organizations, owners and operators of oil handling facilities, vessel owners and operators, ports, industry associations, as well as Aboriginal organizations, federal and provincial governments, and US officials. It also solicited written submissions from the public via its website.

The panel's full report, "A Review of Canada's Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime—Setting the Course for the Future" can be viewed at:

The panel will begin working on its second report early in 2014, examining national requirements for ship-source spills of hazardous and noxious substances, including liquefied natural gas, as well as the state of oil spill preparedness and response in the Arctic.

For more information on oil tanker safety, please visit:

Tanker Safety Expert Panel

The Government of Canada works in a number of ways to protect our marine environment, and to make marine transportation safe and efficient. While the current tanker safety system has served Canada well, our Government announced in March 2013 the creation of a World-Class Tanker Safety System that will better meet our future needs.

Our Government has already started to strengthen tanker safety by investing in a suite of measures and reviewing legislative and regulatory frameworks. However, a comprehensive review of our current system is needed in order to assess its effectiveness and how it can be improved to attain a world-class status.

To this end, the Tanker Safety Expert Panel has been mandated to review and assess Canada's ship-source oil spill preparedness and response regime, and to make recommendations to the Government of Canada to make it a world-class system. Specifically, the panel is assessing the system's structure, functionality, industry requirements and its overall efficiency and effectiveness. Its work is further informed by a pan-Canadian evidence-based risk assessment commissioned by Transport Canada.

The review has two components: the first component focused on the system currently in place south of 60° north latitude; the second component, which will begin in early 2014, will focus on requirements for the Arctic as well as a national review of requirements for hazardous and noxious substances, including liquefied natural gas.

The panel's report for south of 60° north latitude recommendations are based on the following five key assumptions for improving the safety system:

  • Spill planning and the response resources allocated to prepare for spills should be based on risks specific to a geographic area.

  • Potential polluters should be prepared, through their contracted Response Organizations, to arrange a response to a worst-case scenario through cascading resources and mutual assistance agreements that supplement a response organization's risk-based response capacity.

  • A timely response to a spill is a key factor in mitigating its effects.

  • Response planning should be focused on whatever strategies are identified for a geographic area that will most effectively limit the environmental and socio-economic impacts of a spill.

  • Canadian taxpayers should not bear any liability for spills in Canadian waters.

    The panel's full report, "A Review of Canada's Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime—Setting the Course for the Future" can be viewed at:

A summary of 'Risk Assessment for Marine Spills in Canadian Waters, Phase 1: Oil Spills South of 60th Parallel' is available at

Panel members

John Gordon Houston, Chair

Captain Gordon Houston is the former President and CEO of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. He attended Edinburgh University's Nautical Campus receiving the designation of Master Mariner in 1975. He also holds a nautical science diploma from Aigburth Nautical College. After a seagoing career spanning three decades, Captain Houston joined the Prince Rupert Port Corporation as Harbour Master in 1988. Later, he joined the Vancouver Port Authority, as Deputy Harbour Master, and then as Harbour Master where, among his other duties, he represented the Port during the creation of Canada's current Ship-source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime.

In 1996, he moved into the Port's executive ranks, as Vice President, Operations. After five years in this role, Captain Houston was appointed President and CEO of the Vancouver Port Authority where he oversaw the amalgamation of the three ports in the Lower Mainland.

Richard Gaudreau

Mr. Gaudreau practiced law from 1969 until the end of 2012. His experience includes all activities related to maritime and admiralty law, particularly ship purchasing/selling/financing/chartering, carrier liability, environmental law, collisions, salvage and all aspects of marine and Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance. He also practiced in all activities related to international trade. He has vast experience before Canadian and Québec courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

He was the chairperson of several Québec and Canadian marine-related organizations, including the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council. Mr. Gaudreau has been involved in numerous arbitrations, both as a lawyer and an arbitrator. He has chaired a number of public inquiries and has studied and contributed to the drafting of maritime and port legislation and regulations in Canada and abroad.

From 2000 until 2010, Mr. Gaudreau taught post-graduate courses in marine transportation management at l'Université du Québec à Rimouski. He served as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Naval Reserve. Mr. Gaudreau was an active member of the National Coalition on the Coast Guard Recovery Program and the Canadian Bar Association.

Michael Mackay Sinclair

Dr. Michael Sinclair is the former Director of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He also attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and Southampton University in the U.K., where he earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc., respectively.

After positions at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Université du Québec à Rimouski, Dr. Sinclair joined the Bedford Institute in 1978. By 1988, he was appointed to the position of Director, Biological Sciences Branch for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at the Bedford Institute. In 2000, Dr. Sinclair was appointed Director of the Bedford Institute and Regional Director of Science, Maritimes Region, for the Department of Fisheries and Ocean.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Ashley Kelahear
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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