Proposed Abstract Title

Projected Vessel Traffic Increase in the Salish Sea

Type of Presentation

Poster

Session Title

Fossil Fuel Export Panel

Location

2016SSEC

Description

The culture, economy and fish and wildlife would all be dramatically impacted by an oil spill in the Salish Sea. With multiple projects proposed that will expand coal and oil exports from ports in British Columbia and Washington, oil spill risks are escalating rapidly. This unprecedented level of additional vessel traffic, primarily fossil fuel transports, significantly increases the risks of a major oil spill. In 2010, there were 11,000 deep draft vessel transits through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Around 4,300 of these are destined for United States’ ports in Puget Sound. The other 6,250 make for Canadian ports. Past projections identified 1,322 oil tankers, each of which carries an average of 30 to 40 million gallons of crude oil. This level of shipping traffic already comes with a certain inherent level of risk. Currently, around 12,394 large vessels and oil barges transit past the San Juan Islands each year. A Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment for Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (VTRA 2014) found that if all proposed projects were approved, vessel traffic would increase by 21%, accident frequency by 18%, and oil spill loss by 68%. Since the VTRA projections, there has been a sea change in the number of ships, types of products, and political climate for marine shipping through the Salish Sea.

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Projected Vessel Traffic Increase in the Salish Sea

2016SSEC

The culture, economy and fish and wildlife would all be dramatically impacted by an oil spill in the Salish Sea. With multiple projects proposed that will expand coal and oil exports from ports in British Columbia and Washington, oil spill risks are escalating rapidly. This unprecedented level of additional vessel traffic, primarily fossil fuel transports, significantly increases the risks of a major oil spill. In 2010, there were 11,000 deep draft vessel transits through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Around 4,300 of these are destined for United States’ ports in Puget Sound. The other 6,250 make for Canadian ports. Past projections identified 1,322 oil tankers, each of which carries an average of 30 to 40 million gallons of crude oil. This level of shipping traffic already comes with a certain inherent level of risk. Currently, around 12,394 large vessels and oil barges transit past the San Juan Islands each year. A Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment for Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (VTRA 2014) found that if all proposed projects were approved, vessel traffic would increase by 21%, accident frequency by 18%, and oil spill loss by 68%. Since the VTRA projections, there has been a sea change in the number of ships, types of products, and political climate for marine shipping through the Salish Sea.