Derelict and abandoned vessels in our coastal waters pose environmental contamination and safety risks. They are also visual eyesores.
Untended vessels end up adrift, washed ashore and possibly even sunk, releasing fuel and other toxins into the marine environment. This puts marine life and habitat at risk, not to mention the danger these vessels pose to mariners and beach-goers and the damage they can cause to shoreline facilities.
The biggest challenge we have in mitigating the impacts of derelict and abandoned vessels is the jurisdictional quagmire that surrounds them. No provincial or federal ministry is taking ownership of the problem, despite repeated local government and community appeals for leadership.
MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, Jean Crowder, is proposing legislation designating the Coast Guard as a receiver of wreck and requiring them to take reasonable steps to contact the owner and also to provide for government to make regulations on the removal, disposition or destruction of derelict vessels. The intention is to give the Coast Guard the regulatory power it needs to take action before a derelict vessel becomes a problem.
Please support MP Crowder’s bill by writing the Minister of Transportation, Lisa Raitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, visit www.jeancrowder.ca. Michelle Young Georgia Strait Alliance’s Clean Marine BC Program Co-ordinator