Vancouver Mayor Slams "Totally Inadequate" Response to Bunker Spill

Tuesday April 14, 2015

Update: Corrected spill volume from 2700 tonnes to 2700 litres

Vancouver's mayor has publicly criticised the federal and provincial response to last week's oil spill in the city's English Bay, calling the subsequent cleanup efforts "totally inadequate," local media reports

Mayor Gregor Robertson said that despite the fact that the spill was relatively small by historical standards, the lack of response from provincial and federal authorities revealed a lack of leadership from the very top. 

The city of Vancouver was reportedly not notified of the spill until roughly 12 hours after the incident. 

It was also another six hours before booms could be set up on the water to catch the spill. 

In response, British Columbia premier Christy Clark acknowledged the mayor's frustrations, and in separate reports was quoted as saying what she saw as the federal government's lack of "good judgment" and "nimbleness" in dealing with the spill. 

"If that means that in the future the coast guard is relieved of their lead in this and starts taking direction from the province, then perhaps that's a better way to do," she said. 

Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard defended the agency's efforts, maintaining that initial reports had been vague and that assessments had to be made first. 

"Was there a period of time when we weren't quite sure what we were dealing with? Absolutely," he said.

"That's not atypical in this type of a scenario."

Coast guard officials have reportedly announced that cleanup efforts will now focus on the city's shorelines after receiving reports of oil washing up on beaches. 

In the meantime, a video making rounds on social media has depicted volunteers taking it upon themselves to clean the city's shores, many of whom said that they were frustrated with the lack of governmental assistance or even the presence of authorities. 

Last week, it was confirmed that a malfunction aboard the Cyprus-flagged M/V Marathassa had caused the ship to leak roughly 2,700 litres of fuel into the harbour.