Transport Canada commissioning study to assess country's readiness to respond to ship-source oil or chemical spills in Canadian waters

OTTAWA , February 5, 2013 (press release) – The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that Transport Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada, is commissioning a pan-Canadian risk assessment study on readiness to respond to ship-source spills in Canadian waters.

“Our government is working to protect the safety of Canadians and the environment,” said Minister Lebel. “Canada depends on marine shipping for jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. While the current system has served Canada well, it is essential that we have a system in place that can meet future needs.”

Building on previously conducted risk assessments, this study will analyze and evaluate the risk of oil or chemical spills occurring in Canadian waters as a result of incidents involving ships or oil handling facilities. It will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will examine the likelihood and potential impacts of oil spills in Canadian waters, including the Arctic. The second phase will look at the risks associated with chemical spills.” The study will focus on different types of incidents including collisions, fire, explosions, structural failure and loading/off loading operations.

The risk assessment will provide the Government of Canada with key information to support continuous improvements to marine safety.

“Action to strengthen safety systems is an important part of this government’s commitment to responsible resource development,” added Minister Lebel.

In order to retain marine and risk experts, a request for proposals was posted on the Government Electronic Tendering Service known as MERX (www.merx.com). The contracting process is managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada. The contract award is expected to be announced in early spring.

The Government of Canada has already provided Canada with a strong marine safety system with measures that include a requirement for double-hulled tankers, mandatory pilotage of vessels and enhanced requirements for navigational tools. For more information, please visit the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/menu-4100.htm.

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