The Transport Minister of Canada, Marc Garneau, has apparently declared the launch of a vessel traffic monitoring program worth USD 1.5 billion. The program aims to protect the country’s coastlines from vessel spills. Reliable sources cite that the program is likely to be introduced this year for nearly ten indigenous communities including Haida & Gitga.
Through this program, the Canadian administration aims to develop novel maritime awareness information systems that would help enable a better understanding of the surrounding traffic. The government has also announced USD 1.2 million to Aqua-Guard Spill Response Inc. in North Vancouver for equipment, which will help the coastal guards in cleaning-up the vessel spills.
It has been reported that First Nations is likely to be included in this plan as they seemingly have comprehensive knowledge about the domestic water bodies. The Canadian government has also declared that it is planning to improve emergency response, protect environment, and effectively handle vessel traffic activities through coordination with government agencies and First Nations. Marc Garneau has stated that the government values and requires the knowledge of Indigenous communities to successfully execute its vessel monitoring program.
The declaration of the project is the result of protests from the residents of British Columbia against the Trans Mountain pipeline, which they claim will increase the vessel traffic to Burrard Inlet. Though the expansion of the pipeline has been approved by the federal authorities, it does not have a strong support framework from the public in spite of the tanker traffic monitoring program launched by the Transport Ministry of Canada.
For the record, the vessel traffic monitoring project must fulfill 157 conditions laid down by the National Energy Board of Canada. Industry analysts have forecast that the ocean protection plan of the Canadian authorities will contribute substantially towards marine safety across the region. They further state that this strategic move will help in promoting the shipping activities across the region and will generate large-scale employment opportunities for the locals.