December 13th, 2021
Call for Integrated Response to Container Spills
OTTAWA – Yesterday, NDP MPs Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and Rachel Blaney (North Island-Powell River) called on the federal government to develop an emergency response plan to ocean container debris spills. These calls come in the wake of the MV Zim Kingston disaster, where 109 shipping containers fell into the ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island, following an onboard fire during a severe winter storm.
“The MV Zim Kingston spill spread toxic chemicals, damaged marine ecosystems, and spread debris along our shores. The Liberal government failed to work with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners to immediately coordinate a response to this crisis,” said Barron. “The best response to minimize the impact of spills like this is to ensure that we have an emergency plan that is guided by local and traditional knowledge.”
Barron, the NDP critic for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, pressed the Minister during Question Period to make sure that Canada’s emergency responses and clean-up plans match the urgency of the crisis.
“Spills like the MV Kingston are becoming increasingly common along our coasts,” said Blaney. “Last year, between October and January, over 3000 shipping containers fell into the Pacific Ocean. With more traffic and a worsening climate crisis, emergencies will become more common. The government must stop patting themselves on the back and get to work to ensure communities are able to address these emergencies.”
New Democrats have been urging the government to make sure that local responders have the information they need, including, a full manifest of what was in the lost cargo containers, and ensuring that the owners of shipping companies are held financially accountable for all costs related to the clean-up.