The danger lies in a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) vapour cloud released from a breached cargo tank. LNG vapour can be ignited with the slightest spark (e.g., cigarette) and could cause an enormous spreading fireball—lethal to anything within several kilometres. Risks include death by cryogenic freezing, fire or explosion; suffocation; thermal radiation burns; and damage or destruction of property by fire or explosion, and forest fires.
The tanker route runs along the shore of West Vancouver and through Howe Sound. It cuts across three BC Ferries routes carrying thousands of daily passengers. Howe Sound is notorious for strong winds and has several narrow passages. The ability to maneuver a massive LNG carrier is highly restricted. Each tanker would need to be assisted by three tugboats. If a tanker collided with a ferry or ran aground and caught fire, the impacts would be devastating.
The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security use world experts on LNG fires to define hazard zones around LNG tanker routes, to protect human life and property. Canada has no such safeguards. Hazard zones extend 3,500 m on either side of the LNG tanker. Check out the map to see if your home or business, or your children's school is within 3,500 m of the tanker route.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper prohibited the passage of LNG tankers on the sparsely populated east coast of Canada because he said LNG tankers posed “risks to the region of southwest New Brunswick and its inhabitants that the Government of Canada cannot accept.”
Yet, the Trudeau Government has conditionally approved the Woodfibre LNG project without assessing the risks of transporting LNG through our heavily populated communities.
Please help protect our communities.Take action now!
Contact the following politicians and tell them you expect the Government of Canada to undergo a comprehensive assessment of the risks and hazards of LNG tankers before any further decision about the Woodfibre LNG project is made. Canadians deserve safety standards equivalent to or better than exist in the US.
West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith
MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones
Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Send the email to:
To date, LNG tankers have been relatively safe, but that is because there are stringent international guidelines to prevent accidents. The problem is that Woodfibre LNG and the BC Liberals aren't following these guidelines. Here are some of the key issues below:
Tanker traffic puts Howe Sound residents at risk
As LNG tankers transit Howe Sound, there is a high-danger zone for 1,600 metres on either side of the LNG tanker (see Zone 2 boundary on the map). People within this zone risk death by asphyxiation, or death/injury by fire or explosion if an accident happens. Every time a tanker travels through Howe Sound (approximately 6-8 transits a month according to Woodfibre LNG) the following communities are in that high-danger zone: Bowen Island, Bowyer Island, Anvil Island, Passage Island, Porteau Cove, West Vancouver, and parts of the Sea to Sky highway.
Source: Sandia Report, 2004
Siting an LNG facility in Howe Sound violates international safety standards and practices
According to the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) LNG Terminal Siting Standards:
LNG ports must be located where they do not conflict with other waterway uses, including fishing, recreational boating, and ferries.
Long, narrow inland waterways are to be avoided, due to greater navigation risk. Fjords (such as Howe Sound) are by definition "long, narrow inlets characterized by steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity."
LNG ports must not be located on the outside curve in the waterway, since other transiting vessels would at some time during their transits be headed directly at the berthed LNG ship.
- Human error potential always exists, so it must be taken into consideration when selecting and designing an LNG port.