There are only five marine communication and traffic stations (MCTS) in the Pacific Region monitoring shipping traffic such as tankers, ferries, and cruise ships.
Three of these stations will be closed.
Canada Coast Guard has announced that it will close Vancouver, Ucluelet and Comox MCTS centres and keep the two in Prince Rupert and Victoria. Those two centres will then be responsible for all waters off the BC coast.
Who is left to watch the BC coastline?
It is very early to determine exactly how the distribution of the work will be divided by the two centres, but there is great concern over a combined MCTS centre in Prince Rupert, which already has the largest area of responsibility in Canada over doubling their area of coverage and moving to 30 mountain top VHF sites to monitor along with radar, transponder traffic and the busiest cruising grounds area of Desolation sound and Barkley Sound from a centre 400 miles away.
Vancouver will lose its MCTS centre, which handles more marine traffic than any port in Canada and also will be losing the busiest search and rescue station in Canada at Kitsilano.
What happens in a disaster?
These cutbacks come at a time when plans are to increase oil tanker traffic. Tankers for Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, LNG will further make BC’s coastal waters the busiest in the world.
The increase in tanker traffic and pleasure craft activity on BC waters requires more than just 2 centres. In cases of equipment and power failure there is no backup system. The two proposed sites in Sidney and Seal Cove Prince Rupert lie within the tsunami hazard zone, unlike Vancouver and Comox. When warnings are issued, officers will be unable to do more than broadcast a short message and evacuate for their own safety.
Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) currently has 22 centres across Canada. The Coast Guard announced today that they will be closing 10 centres. Approximately 180 of the 350 MCTS officers across Canada will lose their jobs.
Sign the petition now to STOP Coast Guard closures of Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre.
All mariners email Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local member of parliament.
Source: Allan Hughes, RD Pacific CAW Local 2182
Note: At the same time, the federal government is spending billions of dollars on airplanes for the military. Check out sixthestate’s post for a breakdown of those costs or this post from the 3D’s blog.