Ships & Tankers in BC Waters

Although many British Columbians are aware that Vancouver is a  busy port, few really know the magnitude of the port activities. 

Today, April 16, all of the moorage spaces in English Bay are full. 15 freighters and one tanker are waiting to load or unload cargo. In Burrard Inlet there are 4 ships at anchor and 13 at the various docks. There is one tanker at the terminal in Burnaby. 3 more  freighters are  inbound between Victoria and Vancouver. Another is docked at Ogden Point in Victoria and 2 more at anchor off Esquimalt. 

13 more are anchored in various spots in the Gulf Islands. And 5 more are anchored in Nanaimo. 4 more up up the Fraser. And 3 tied up at Roberts Bank. One more loading pulp at Port Melon. In total there are 63 cargo ships of one sort or another loading unloading or waiting for same. 

Some are loading coal, potash, grain, oil,  pulp,  Others are unloading vehicles, General cargo including food, clothing, hardware, etc. 

All these ships are diesel powered and all are carrying large quantities of diesel or bunker oil. How much do they carry? See below. 

  • Small tugboat (30–60 feet): 1,500–25,000 gallons
  • Ocean-going tugboat (90–150 feet): 90,000–190,000 gallons
  • Puget Sound jumbo ferry (440 feet): 130,000 gallons
  • Bulk carrier of commodities such as grain or coal (500–700 feet): 400,000–800,000 gallons
  • Large cruise ship (900–1,100 feet): 1–2 million gallons
  • Inland tank barge (200–300 feet): 400,000–1.2 million gallons
  • Panamax container ship that passes through the Panama Canal (960 feet): 1.5–2 million gallon
  • Ocean-going tank barge (550–750 feet): 7 million–14 million gallons 
  • Large oil tankers (987 feet): 55 Million gallons ( this is the type of tankers that go into Ferndale and Anacortes in Washington State)

So today there could be as much as or more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel floating around in our waters. Since approximately 3500 deep sea ships visit here each year that means 7000 or so transits of Haro Strait near Sidney. Which equates to something like 1 – 2 BILLION gallons of fuel moving through Haro Strait annually. 

What damage that could do to our environment! But it doesn’t. It’s safe. Our BC Pilotage Authority Pilots do a wonderful job of ensuring that these vessels are moved, anchored and docked safely. Every day, every month, year after year. 

The anti tanker hysteria is not reality.


Just saying…

Sent from my iPhone

4 thoughts on “Ships & Tankers in BC Waters

  1. When you are willing to open your mind and listen to both sides of the story then you will realize that it is not about oil. It is about bitumen and the lack of knowledge about how to deal with a bitumen spill. Alberta gets virtually all of the profit while British Columbia bears all of the risk. The assistance Kinder Morgan is providing to our BC Coast Guard related to spill response is totally inadequate as there is no known effective response to a spill of bitumen. In addition, they have stated that once it is on the tanker their responsibility ends. Frankly, that is unacceptable in my book and it should be in every right minded British Columbian’s!


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