An open letter to Minister James Moore

The general manager of the Jericho Sailing Centre is accusing Coast Guard brass of straight-out lying to the public. Here’s Mike Cotter’s open letter to Minister James Moore.

Dear Mr. Moore:

Since the April 8 bunker C fuel spill in English Bay, 3km directly north of the Jericho Sailing Centre, I have heard various reports from Canadian Coast Guard officials stating that the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station was not equipped with pollution response equipment. I know this not to be true, having been familiarized with the Station, and having witnessed their environmental response to several incidents over the 25 years I managed the Jericho Sailing Centre while the Kits Station was open (1988-2013).

I enclose 2 photos of the PRV (Pollution Response Vessel CGE-735) taken in May, 2012 at the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station when I had the opportunity to go on board. This vessel, which has been on station at the source ship in English Bay since April 11, (3 days after the spill) is equipped with 2 skimmers, dual pollution containment tanks and 300m of floating containment boom. Further to this, the Station’s all-weather cutter Osprey was equipped with a skimmer, spill boom and a containment tank.

Had the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station remained open, the Osprey could have been on scene within 10 minutes in direct contact with the boater who originally reported the spill just after 5 pm on April 8. Her crew would’ve assessed the scene (the boater says he could tell the fuel was coming from the aft section of the source ship) and activated the PRV crew who would’ve been on scene and commenced spill containment within an hour of the report. The Osprey and her crew, adept at containing smaller spills, could have commenced clean-up operations immediately. The suggestion by Canadian Coast Guard management that the response of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station would not have made a difference from the containment 12 hours later, after 2 tidal flow changes, is beyond believable and simply not credible.

An examination of Kitsilano Coast Guard Station and ship logs will clearly reveal that the station responded to many spills over the years, as former Commander Fred Moxey has stated; and that, indeed, the CGE-735 Pollution Response Vessel, seen in these photos, was based at the station.

On behalf of Vancouver’s ocean community I would like to join others in respectfully asking the Canadian government to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station immediately.
Fair winds,
Mike Cotter
General Manager Jericho Sailing Centre Association

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