September 22, 2016 by John Nicholson
Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) recently announced it would invest $200 million to upgrade its oil response capabilities if the proposed $5.4 billion (Cdn.) Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is approved. WCMRC is responsible for cleaning up oil spills along the south coast of British Columbia and currently has a fleet of 17 vessels.
“The idea is we’d be able to bring our vessels together in a centralized location, and that’s really going to allow us to really reduce response time,” said WCMRC communications manager Michael Lowry in an interview with the CBC.
According to Mr. Lowry, WCMRC’s annual operating costs, funded by the oil and shipping industries, are currently $9-10 million. After the improvements, the annual cost would run $50-60 million. Also, the investment in oil response capabilities would add 115 employees and 26 new oil clean-up vessels.
WCMRC is planning the expansion of oil response capabilities based on Kinder Morgan getting approval to expand its existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The improvements will reduce spill response time in Vancouver’s harbour from six hours to two hours and vastly improve the speed at which clean-up occurs.