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.