Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at the Coast Guard base in Prince Rupert on June 21, 2018, to announce the Ocean Protection Plan. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

$67M for two emergency towing vessels for B.C. coast

Government of Canada awarded a contract to lease two vessels from New Brunswick

Two emergency offshore towing vessels from New Brunswick will be joining the Canadian Coast Guard in B.C.

“Under the Oceans Protection Plan, our government is putting in place concrete measures so we can better prevent and respond to marine pollution incidents. These vessels will enhance the Canadian Coast Guard’s emergency response capacity off the West Coast, and help to make Canada’s waters and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The lease request for emergency offshore towing vessels was issued in February 2018, and awarded in August.

READ MORE: Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Atlantic Towing Limited based in Saint John, N.B., was awarded a contract worth $67,013,720 for the three-year lease of two vessels after an open tender bid. The company will operate the vessels and train members and partners of the Coast Guard in offshore emergency towing.

The vessels will be used to tow commercial ships, tankers and container ships when they are in distress. They can also be used for search and rescue missions and respond to environmental incidents. One ship will work between Alaska and the northern tip of Vancouver Island, while the second will be used on the west side of Vancouver Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The towing vessels are expected to be in B.C. waters in late 2018.

The Oceans Protection Plan was first announced in 2016, after a diesel fuel spill near Bella Bella prompted the B.C. government to ask for better capability to respond to vessels in distress.

At the time of the 2016 announcement, Trudeau said, “These measures are progressive and proactive and will ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan unveiled today will make Canada a world-leader in marine safety and takes a powerful step toward co-management of our coasts with Indigenous and coastal communities, together making sure they remain healthy, clean and safe for generations to come.”

READ MORE: Broadwater-built oil spill response vessel ready to launch



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

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