A war of words has broken out with the Canadian Coast Guard defending its response time.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson have been clamouring for microphones to show their indignation at the federal response to the spillage of an estimated 2,700 litres of bunker fuel from the cargo ship MV Marathassa.
According to reports, the 80-90 per cent of the spill has been contained in a 36-hour period.
It is also very fortunate that so far there are only reports of three birds that have been soaked with oil and no reports of any other impact to marine mammals.
Federal Industry Minister James Moore has weighed into the debate, bristling at the criticism, and lauding the “world class” actions of the cleanup crews.
Not to minimize any of the reaction to the B.C. spill or wade into the debate of what is adequate response to this environmental spill, but it would be nice if some of the national coverage, some of the political outrage and some of the concern could be directed this way and focus on the environmental threat that hangs over our head.
Justin Trudeau of the Liberals and Elizabeth May of the Green party have stepped up to the mike with their opinions on B.C., but seem to be mute on the subject of the MV Manolis L. that sits in 250 feet of water off of Change Islands.
The sunken carrier’s 500 tonnes of fuel was first reported leaking in March of 2013. It has been sitting there since January of 1985. There have been reports of numerous sea birds coated in oil in the past. There is potential for serious damage to the pristine coastline and to the local economy if the containment measures fail.
Where are the national media coverage and their cameras? Where are the outraged politicians? Will there be any federal ministers stepping forward with the audacity to say that the 30-year response time has been “world class?”
Premier Paul Davis should hammer some tables, shout through the media, that the federal response to the Manolis L. is not adequate.
We should not be in a position of having to sit on a ticking time bomb that can do irreparable damage to our marine life and shores.
If the fuel is pumped out of the ship now it could avert a media circus in the future.
Jim Hildebrand is a Pilot Islands’ correspondent
who writes from Durrell.