Masset gets expanded kit of fuel-response gear

A 16-metre trailer full of oil boom, skimmer brushes, absorbent pads and protective clothing was delivered to Masset by the WCMRC last week.

A soak hose showers part of the shoreline in the Delkatla Slough during a Sept. 14 training session hosted by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation for mariners

People trained to contain fuel spills now have a larger gear kit near Masset Harbour.

A 16-metre trailer full of oil boom, skimmer brushes, absorbent pads and protective clothing was delivered to the North Arm Transportation yard last week by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation.

“We’re slowly starting to improve what we have here,” said Dave Zrodack, WCMRC operations supervisor for the North Coast.

Zrodack and other WCMRC staff also ran an annual spill-responder workshop in Masset and another in Queen Charlotte, which is due to receive an expanded spill kit next year.

Along with on-water exercises, trainees in Masset practiced soaking and spraying down the shoreline — a way to keep heavy fuels from sticking or spreading on land.

“We’ve got freighters going right by in front here,” said Zrodack, referring to the Masset fuel dock.

“God forbid anything would happen, but we have equipment to start looking after a spill.”

Headquartered in Burnaby, the WCMRC is certified as Canada’s west-coast spill response organization by Transport Canada.

While it can be tasked by the Coast Guard, the WCMRC is entirely funded by industry.

Its main shareholders are Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron, Suncor, and Trans Mountain Pipelines. Others include airlines, mills, ferries, fishing camps, cruise ships, and port authorities.

The WCMRC responds to about 20 spills each year — the largest was a 100,000-litre crude oil spill in Burrard Inlet in 2007 — and it keeps a 13-metre oil-skimming vessel, a gear barge and a large cache of spill gear in Prince Rupert.