ICS condemns proposed restriction on Canadian crude oil shipments

Oct 20 2017


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has voiced its deep concern about proposed Canadian legislation, which would establish a moratorium on Northern British Columbia tanker movements.

Bill C-48 - Oil Moratorium Act- is aimed at regulating vessels transporting crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast.

The ICS claimed that this Act would interfere with international maritime trade.      
“Such a draconian step could lead to serious concerns being raised by Canada’s international trading partners,” said ICS
director of policy and external relations, Simon Bennett.  

ICS
said that the proposals were not developed through an evidence-based process, and believed that it would establish an unwelcome precedent that might be emulated elsewhere, including by individual US states, with the potential to impact greatly on the efficiency of world trade, as well as that of Canada.

The Chamber said that the environmental record of the shipping industry, especially the tanker sector, was impressive. On average, worldwide, there are currently fewer than two significant oil spills (over 700 tonnes) per year, compared to 25 such incidents per year 30 years ago, despite a doubling of the amount of oil transported by sea.

“We would instead encourage Canada to continue its strong history of environmental protection and support for responsible global trade through the implementation of practical measures consistent with international best practice.
This includes respecting the IMO’s role in developing safe and sustainable shipping regulations and recommendations that might address any concerns that Canada may have,” Bennett said.

ICS
further said that the global shipping industry fully recognises the importance of robust environmental protection measures, and is committed to the goal of zero pollution, consistent with the comprehensive global regulatory framework adopted by the IMO, in accordance with the United Nations Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which Canada is a State party.

This legislation, tabled in the Canadian parliament
on 12th May, is being reviewed by a parliamentary committee. This review was due to start on 19th October.

Earlier this month, groups, including northerners, indigenous organisations, local governments, labour unions and environmental groups, sent a strong message of support for Bill, which would prohibit any vessel carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude or persistent oil from using any port or marine installation on British Columbia’s north coast in Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance and Queen Charlotte Sound. 



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