New Custom-Built Boom Skiffs Strengthen WCMRC’s Response Fleet

WCMRC has built 10 new oil spill response vessels at Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver, valued at approximately $1.25 million. The custom-designed aluminum boom skiffs are 6 metres long and 2.7 metres wide with a cargo area to accommodate 1,500 feet of spill response boom.

“They function as water trailers and are capable of being towed at 20 knots by a first response vessel to transport boom and other assets to contain the spill incident, “said Ishaan Goel, Project Manager. “Having boom stacked on skiffs also enables a lot of flexibility, as any vessel can tow these small skiffs and deploy boom virtually anywhere along the coast.”

“The designs have undergone a few revisions. WCMRC’s operational committee provided their requirements for the new skiffs and there were few learnings from the existing fleet of boom- skiffs and it was an opportunity to improve on the design. From concept design until the completion of contract design, there was a fair bit of input that went into the design.”

The rigorous testing process is to diagnose deficiencies and rectify snags before the vessel can be integrated into the fleet.

The first two boom skiffs, Sentinel 106 and Sentinel 107, were transported from Allied Shipyards in North Vancouver to the Nanaimo Response Base in February 2021. At the beginning of June 2021, all 10 vessels were handed over to the Nanaimo Operations team for commissioning. Sea trials are being conducted to make observations and recommendations before the skiffs can be integrated into the fleet.

“We have an Operational committee team that’s in charge of commissioning and outfitting the vessels,” said Samantha Sulmanis, Project Coordinator for the vessel build. The team in Nanaimo will outfit the boom skiffs with fenders, tow lines, tow bridles and anchor assemblies.

Spill response crews will get training to ensure they are up to speed on the boom skiffs capabilities and their response functions. Sidney, Port Alberni, Beecher Bay and Nanaimo Response Bases will be outfitted with two boom skiffs and Port of Vancouver and Fraser River will each have one on site.

The new vessels are part of the $150 million spill response enhancements that are required for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. The delivery and commissioning process for the remaining boom-skiff vessels have been approved and the project will be complete in July 2021.

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