WCMRC has wrapped-up a two-day oil spill response exercise in Nanaimo Harbour that ran from September 20th to 21st. As part of the exercise, equipment and vessels from WCMRC’s South Coast and Vancouver Island fleets deployed to a simulated spill in Nanaimo Harbour.
The unannounced drill was the first of its kind on the West Coast and was designed to test response capacity and look for gaps in response plans. WCMRC has a robust exercise and training program, but they have traditionally been pre-planned drills.
WCMRC was supported in the exercise by the Nanaimo Port Authority. In total, nearly 60 response personnel and over a dozen response vessels were involved in the operation.
The scenario involved the hard landing of a cruise ship while approaching the berth resulting in a release of 2,000 tonnes of diesel mixed with fuel bunker and hydraulic fluid. WCMRC crews deployed to the scene, contained the casualty vessel, placed protection boom around environmental sensitivities in the harbour and initiated containment sweeps.
WCMRC is exploring the establishment of a new response base in Nanaimo on port property. Construction of the new base is dependent on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project moving forward. The expansion project is contingent on Federal Cabinet approval, anticipated in December 2016.
The Nanaimo response base would be part of a broader spill response enhancement program for Trans Mountain. The $200 million enhancements would include five new response bases, approximately 115 new employees and approximately 26 new vessels at strategic locations along B.C.’s southern shipping lane.