Monday, April 13, 2015

A show of FORCE: 36 years ago three Destroyers were dispatched to Howe Sound and Malaspina Strait: 4 rail car tankers loaded with Chlorine were missing.

In today's Vancouver Sun (A7) the headline suggests that the oil barons are considering breaking the door down on the moratorium against drilling rigs in local waters for new sources of their petroleum.

The bonus for the environment?  Mary Polak's Press release:  "No ground water will be used."

Oil may lurk below surface of English Bay; testing is planned
Gordon Hoekstra and Tiffany Crawford

With all the kerfuffle over 2,700 litres (17 barrels) of bunker oil contaminating English Bay/Burrard Inlet it was worth a look back over our shoulders for something more tangible than blobs of goo, especially while the Canadian Coast Guard flexed their mighty muscles by bringing in their dive team(s) in zodiacs.

From our distorted memory banks of 40 years ago there was an incident regarding a missing Chlorine tanker that had rolled off the stern of a rail barge between Vancouver and Nanaimo.  In fact it was 36 years and there were two incidents a year apart, both involving the loss of rail tankers loaded with Chlorine destined for pulp mills.  A barge with four rail cars left Squamish for Powell River via the Howe Sound and Malaspina Strait (that's east of Texada Island), they never arrived.  The barge did, but upside Down!

In response to the seriousness of the situation Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sent the 'Canadian' Navy in three destroyers: MacKenzie, Saskatchewan and the QuAppelle.  Job: do a sweep to find the tankers.   That's a tad more of a show of force than the CCG bringing in dive team(s).

Ellensburg Daily Record 
 February 21, 1975
Search for missing chlorine continuing
The second incident happened on January 31, 1974 just off of Galiano Island where the tanker split apart and drained its chlorine contents into the waters.


Find off B.C. may be tanks of chlorine - Globe and Mail - 2004 - Updated 2009

After nearly 30 years of mystery, government scientists believe they have found four rail-car tankers that vanished into coastal waters near Vancouver carrying a lethal load of chlorine.

''We found two blobs that are fairly substantial. They could well be the long-lost rail cars,'' said Robie Macdonald, a research scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C., who has been on the case of the missing chlorine tanks since they vanished in 1975.

Last month, as part of a long-term program to map the earthquake-prone ocean floor off the B.C. coast, the Canadian Hydrographic Service found something it is calling a "target of interest" deep in the mud of the Malaspina Strait. The finding came after a spate of searches using less-sophisticated equipment failed to find the massive metal tank cars in the late 1970s.  SNIP


Anonymous said...

bunker c has gravity of.97 to 1.03?
sink or swim?

North Van's Grumps said...

".... The specific gravity of a particular No. 6 fuel oil can vary from 0.95 to greater than 1.03. (The specific gravity of seawater is 1.03.) Thus, spilled oil can float, suspend in the water column, or sink. Small changes in water density may dictate whether the oil will sink or float. ...."