The union representing Coast Guard workers says if the English Bay fuel spill had happened next month the already questionable communications would have been downright chaotic.
Unifor’s Allan Hughes says federal government cuts mean Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres in Vancouver and with them.
“Part of those casualties will be the regional marine information centre, which is contained the Coast Guard traffic centre in downtown Vancouver, which regulates shipping movements. That information centre provides notification for Transport Canada, environmental response, the city of Vancouver, and other agencies that need to respond to these pollution incidents.”
Hughes says after May 6th there will be no system in place to report a spill.
“There is no system currently in place. Ottawa has said that they are going to develop something and they are going to roll that into the MCTS officers duties. However they are cutting the number of MCTS officers used to protect from shipping accidents happening already and to detect distress calls.”
He says when the MCTS centres close next month it leaves Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, without a single coast guard member.