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Trans Mountain stages spill response test in Burnaby

spill-one
A spill response vessel in Burrard Inlet off the shore of Burnaby on Wednesday. (via Contributed)

Trans Mountain conducted a large emergency spill response drill today (Wednesday) at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby and Burrard Inlet.

The company said in a news release that it was “one of the largest” such events in its history, involving more than 300 participants/observers and 20 response agencies. 

The exercise tested response personnel and practiced the implementation of the Westridge Marine Terminal Emergency Response Plan, as required by the National Energy Board and Transport Canada. 

“Our goal is to operate, manage and protect the pipeline system so that our emergency response plans are never used, while being fully prepared for any type of incident,” said Michael Davies, vice-president of operations for Trans Mountain Corporation, in a news release. “Exercises like these allow us to demonstrate our industry-leading practices for incident response, and train together with the agencies and first responders that would be involved in an incident to ensure that we are fully prepared to respond in a timely and effective manner.”  

spill command
A command post was set up as part of Wednesday's exercise. (via Contributed)

The exercise consisted of water-based response activities at various geographic response sites within Burrard Inlet, as well as “simultaneous shoreline deployment activities” at the Westridge Marine Terminal. A command post was set up with different agencies situated with Trans Mountain staff.

“Trans Mountain has loaded marine vessels with oil at the Westridge Marine Terminal since 1956 without a single spill from tanker operations,” the company said.

It currently serves approximately five tankers per month. If the Trans Mountain pipeline and Westridge expansions eventually go ahead, the terminal is expected to serve up to “37 vessels per month – up to 34 Aframax class tankers and three barges,” the company said. “This increased total would represent about 14 per cent of today’s marine traffic in Port of Vancouver.”

A recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling that overturned government approval of the Trans Mountain expansion said the National Energy Board had ignored the implications of this increased tanker traffic.

Burnaby Now