The Administrator's Annual Report 2004-2005
The Administrator continues with outreach initiatives to further his understanding of the perspectives of parties interested in Canada's ship-source oil pollution, prevention response, liability and compensation regime. In Canada, these include citizens, ship owners, insurers, ROs, oil receivers, REET, CPPI, CCG, TC, EC, CMAC, CMLA, other federal and provincial government agencies and non-government organizations.
On the international front organizations of interest include: ITOPF, OCIMF, CEDRE, P&I Clubs, INTERTANKO, ICS, IOPC Fund, EC, USCG, U.S. Dept. of Commerce (NOAA), U.S. Dept. of Interior and the U.S. EPA.
2. Regional Environmental Emergency Team (REET)
The Administrator participated in the Atlantic Regional Environmental Emergency Team (REET) meetings held in St. John's, Newfoundland, on November 3 and 4, 2004.
REET is comprised of representatives from federal, provincial, first nations, municipal and other agencies, as necessary. Environment Canada, the federal authority responsible for environmental advice during a pollution incident, normally chairs REET. This body is responsible for providing consolidated environmental and scientific information during the course of response operations. The contingency plans of REET contain a basic framework to ensure that all partners work together efficiently. These plans are also integrated with the emergency plans of other government departments. REET provides the CCG and/or the polluter's On-Scene Commander (OSC) with advice on weather forecasts. In addition, information is made available on the physical operating environment, spill movement and trajectory forecasts. This assistance by REET to the OSC during an incident can make a major difference in the response to the incident. REET may approve the use of chemical dispersion and recommend shoreline treatment/cleanup techniques.
Roger Percy (Environment Canada) chaired this excellent meeting in St. John's. Ken Dominie, Deputy Minister, NL Department of Environment and Conservation, welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of environmental issues. Approximately 85 people attended. They represented federal, provincial and municipal governments, the oil industry, the Canadian Offshore Petroleum Boards, the Eastern Canada Response Corporation, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation, environmental associations, and other non-government organizations interested in the marine environment.
The presentations ranged from intergovernmental relationships to places of refuge and marine oil spill issues. The speakers came from England, St.Pierre and Miquelon, Quebec, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.
The Administrator's presentation covered the creation and principal elements of Canada's Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund. The presentation addressed the role of the SOPF in oil spills incidents from ships of all classes operating in Canadian waters, including the St. Lawrence River system and other inland lakes and waterways. He explained that the responsibilities and duties of the Administrator include the authority to offer compensation to claimants for whatever portion of a claim the Administrator finds to be established and, where a claimant accepts an offer, the Administrator directs payment to the claimant out of the SOPF. Prior to any offer every claim for compensation is investigated and then assessed. In appropriate cases the Administrator may take measures to recover the amount of the payment from the shipowner, the International Fund or any other person liable.
In addition, the Administrator provided an overview of the activities of the SOPF in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004, during which the SOPF had handled 57 active incident files. In particular, 15 Canadian claims totaling $3.4 million were settled for some $2.7 million plus interest. Recoveries from third parties liable, amount to some $87,000. The SOPF continues to pay considerable contributions to the International Fund: $4.8 million during that fiscal year and $38.2 million since 1989. It was noted that with the 50 percent rise in compensation levels for the international regime effective November 2003, Canada's (SOPF) potential liabilities to the International Fund have increased significantly (see Figure 1, Appendix D in the Administrator's 2004-2005 Annual Report).
Some of the other presentations are summarized following:
Places of Refuge
Richard Southcott, a barrister (Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales) discussed this issue from on international perspective. He spoke about the work being conducted by both the IMO and the CMI. Mr. Southcott explained that the CMLA had responded to the questionnaires circulated by the CMI. The CMI reported its recommendation to the IMO Legal Committee.
Mike Balaban (TC) presented the TCMS perspective on places of refuge in Atlantic Canada. He discussed the circumstances surrounding the MT Dodsland and MT Eastern Power incidents to illustrate when and how TCMS intervenes to provide technical and other support when tankers require assistance.
Note: For further information on places of refuge see SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2002-2003 at section 4.3.1.
Oily waste Disposal in Newfoundland and Labrador
Charlie Riggs of the Newfoundland Labrador Environmental Industries Association (NEIA) reviewed the proceedings of the oil spill conference that was hosted by NEIA in St. John's in November 2003. That conference focused on issue related to the handling and disposal of oily waste from marine spills.
Mr. Riggs reminded participants that the European experience in response to the Prestige incident highlighted, once again, that oil spill waste management is a critical component of an effective response strategy. NEIA representatives and others visited Spain for first-hand observations of the cleanup operations, and for discussions in Europe with various interested parties. The handling and disposal of accumulated waste oil materials presents significant challenges for governments and industries to address environmental concerns, cleanup/disposal costs and liabilities.
Leslie Grattan's (Environmental Planner, St. John's) presentation title said it all: "Toward an oil spill waste management strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador." She noted that following the 2003 NEIA oil spill conference, it was clear that a significant gap exists in the Province's preparedness for an effective response to a major oil spill off its coasts.
Consequently, Environment Canada commissioned Cormorant Ltd. of St. John's to evaluate the current level of preparedness for oil spill waste management in the province. The resulting report recommends actions required, primarily by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, to develop a comprehensive oil spill waste strategy for the province. Ms. Grattan explained that the central theme of the report's recommendation is directed towards proactive measures to help ensure that appropriate waste management capability is in place to support effective response to a major spill off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Recommendations are provided for other stakeholders - federal government departments and regulatory agencies, the community level, and also the oil industry.
NEIA members fully support this inter-governmental initiative, because it will greatly assist in the development of a clear strategy for the proper management of the wastes that result from a large spill response. The successful management of oil spill wastes is a shared responsibility.
Note: For information on the 2003 NEIA conference see SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2003-2004 at section 5.3.
Prevention of Oiled Wildlife
Ray Browne (CCG) presented a status report on the recommendations resulting from the Prevention of Oiled Wildlife project (POW) under-taken by the Newfoundland Region of DFO/CCG to address the chronic problem of oiled seabirds.
Note: For information on POW see SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2003-2004 at sections 4.8.3 and 5.4.
Canada - United States Updates
Garret Spicer (CCG) presented overviews of topics for the USCG/CCG CANUSLANT workshop and exercise scheduled to be held at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbour, Maine, from June 13 to 16, 2005, where, inter alia, the respective US and Canadian strategies on places of refuge shall be tested.
Note: For information on CANUSLANT generally see SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2002-2003 at section 5.7.
Environmental Damages Fund
Roger Percy (Environment Canada) provided an update on the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). He noted for the Atlantic Region to date in excess of $650,000 has been contributed to the EDF and $450,000 dispersed for worthwhile restoration projects.
Graham Thomas and Glenn Worthman of Environment Canada reported on the Operation Clean Feather project, which is focusing on prevention through education, including that of senior officers in ships calling at Atlantic Canada ports, on the oiling of wildlife. Local industry is supportive of the program.
Spill Treatments Options
Urban Williams (Petro Canada) reported on the Environmental Studies Research Fund workshop held in St. John's in February 2004 on "Dispersant use in Eastern Canada". Sinclair Dewis responded with Environment Canada's perspective. Oil spill dispersants have received considerable attention in eastern Canada in recent years. It is understood that additional research and development is required on the dispersibility of Grand Banks crude oils.
International Marine Spills
Stéphane Grenon (ITOPF) introduced the role and work of ITOPF and gave a comprehensive and interesting presentation on the MT Tasman Spirit incident (Karachi, Pakistan, July 2003) and the MV Rocknes incident (Bergen, Norway, January, 2004). ITOPF has noted the average number of large oil spills (> 700 tonnes) during the 1990s was less than a third of that during the 1970s.
Note: For more on the decreasing number of oil tankers incidents see SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2002-2003, section 4.11.
Urban William (Petro Canada) presented Petro-Canada's seabird program for its east coast operations. The topics included the seabird monitoring program, which is designed to identify seabirds in the vicinity of the Terra Nova FPSO. Mr. William also described activities at Petro-Canada's oiled seabird cleaning facility in St. John's.
Joan O'Brien (DFO) reported on coastal community resource inventory.
Martin Blouin (CCG) introduced SpillView: Software to support decision-making in emergency response to marine oil spills. In the event of a marine oil spill, it is necessary to quickly and clearly assess the situation and estimate the extent of the area potentially impacted by oil. This software combines the following features integrated in a Geographical Information System: Geo-referenced digital aerial survey; Access to trajectory forecast model results; charts with marine and terrestrial data. These features allow a better planning of the emergency response in terms of deployment of personnel and equipment, because it helps to document clearly the observed spill and to project rapidly the length of coastline at risk and the forecasted time at which the oil spill will start reaching the coast.
Aerial surveys are one of the main tools used towards these ends. Aerial observations support the planning of oil cleanup and recovery work, and can provide data for oil spill trajectory models.
Aerial surveyors traditionally use paper maps to record their observations. This way of doing things presents some limits. These include:
- the difficulty to evaluate the exact location of observed features on the map;
- the difficulty to record all the necessary information on a fixed-scale map and;
- the issue of transferring the recorded observations to spill managers, which takes time, requires explanations from the observer and can be subject to interpretation mistakes.
For these reasons the CCG, in partnership with Cogeni Technologie Inc., developed the SpillView software system. SpillView, which runs under the Windows XP operating system, is designed to operate on a pressure sensitive tablet PC equipped with a GPS and electronic maps. The system displays the real time location and trajectory of the aircraft. The observer can record different types of observations (such as oil location, environmental resources, and shorelines contamination) on georeferenced layers that can be individually exported to formats compatible with other Geographical Information Systems. The observer can also use the system to electronically transfer the observed oil location to a spill modeling center, and display the modeling results within minutes.
SpillView proved to be a good tool to support training and exercises, as it can be used to portray different spill scenarios on electronic maps. The software could also be used for other aerial survey needs, such as national security or forest fires. SpillView is presently being enhanced in order to provide operational support by enabling real time access to equipment inventory databases and fieldwork description forms.
Mr. Joe Pomeroy (Environment Canada) made a presentation on the "Integrated Satellite Tracking of Polluters" system. Louis Armstrong (TC) reported on related TC/DFO overflights.
Communications and Media Relations
Jan Woodford (DFO) gave an overview of the Department's Crisis and Emergency Communications Strategy. Paula Walsh, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, addressed issues in working effectively under operational pressures. Wayne Halley (CCG) offered advice drawn from his practical experience in marine oil pollution response incidents.
3. Canadian Marine Advisory Council (National)
The Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) held meetings in Ottawa from May 3 to 8 and November 22 to 25, 2004. The Administrator attended some of the meetings. Of particular interest is the work in the Standing Committee on the Environment.
During the November meeting a representative of TCMS addressed the issue of marine waste disposal facilities for the reception of residual oils and other ships' waste at Canadian ports and oil refineries. It was noted that Transport Canada's website database has been online for one year. The website is designed to provide up-to-date information on Canadian port facilities that handle all waste as listed under MARPOL - that is, garbage, oil, chemicals, engine room oily waste and all other ship generated marine waste. The database allows port authorities to enter and update their own information. However, in the first year of the program only 11 out of 850 known terminals and waste disposal service providers have responded to the TCMS request for data input. As a result, TCMS is now pro-active in calling and writing to reception facility managers and shipowners asking them to participate in populating its website database.
It was discussed whether or not TCMS is contacting the right people. It is not the shipowners themselves who have waste disposal terminals. The representative of the CPPI advised that he will inform the CPPI membership about the database initiative, and its overall benefit to the marine industry. He emphasized that the CPPI member's waste disposal facilities constitute a very small part of the total number.
Of particular interest to the Administrator is the important information provided by the Standing Committee on the Environment about the chronic problem of oiled wildlife caused by illegal discharge of oily machinery waste at sea. The provision of adequate and cost effective waste disposal facilities may improve the current situation. TCMS is now looking at the Baltic Strategy of including with port fees the costs of port facilities for disposal of oily waste from ships. TCMS plans to undertake a feasibility study during 2005, with the aim of identifying specific problem areas and developing a future action plan. The study will help determine whether the costs for waste disposal in Canada may be integrated into port fees.
Note: For information on the Baltic Strategy see section 4.5.1 of of the Administrator's 2004-2005 Annual Report.
The ability of ships to comply with MARPOL discharge requirements depends largely upon the availability of adequate port reception facilities. The situation is not unique to Canada. The lack of reception facilities in many ports worldwide poses a serious threat of pollution to the marine environment.
Also, Environment Canada presented information to the Committee's Working Group on Marine Oil Pollution about recent Government initiatives to address ship-source oil pollution.
The video, "Silent Disaster", was shown followed by a presentation providing background and an update on the peer reviewed science that demonstrates the impact of oil pollution on seabirds. The presentation stressed that early indications are that seabird mortality on the West Coast of Canada is as great or greater than that on the East Coast. Determining seabird mortality on the West Coast is more difficult given that seabird populations are located at much greater distances from shore. The Working Group noted that the Canadian Wildlife Services will be examining the types of oil causing chronic problems to seabirds at sites around the world.
An overview of Bill C-15 (ex Bill C-34) was presented. This Bill would amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, to improve their effectiveness to address ship source pollution and better coordinate them with the Canada Shipping Act. The Working Group discussed concerns of the maritime shipping community. In response to the concerns of stakeholders regarding consultation, the co-chairs recommend that the Working Group on Marine Oil Pollution be reconvened at the next national CMAC meeting to continue discussions on legislative matters and other developments.
A representative of TCMS provided an overview of TC's National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP). On December 12, 2003, the federal government transferred responsibility for the NASP from CCG to TC. TC is now responsible for the overall direction and coordination of the NASP.
The objectives of the NASP include enforcement of the pollution prevention regulations, deterrence, emergency response and program support for other government departments and federal agencies, such as, the CCG, Environment Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Dash-8 aircraft previously located in Ottawa for patrols of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River has been relocated to Moncton, New Brunswick. Also, plans are in hand for the modernization of airborne marine pollution surveillance equipment. Acquisitions within the next 12 months will include: Side looking Airborne Radar; Infrared/Ultraviolet Line Scanner; Photographic and Video Camera system with GPS annotation; Airborne Automated Identification System (AIS) transponder receiver; Data Processor Interface.
TC will continue the NASP's involvement in the Integrated Satellite Tracking of Polluters Project. TC continues to seek funding for additional surveillance. The objective of this project is to help determine if RADARSAT technology can be harnessed to the task of reducing chronic oil pollution in Canada.
The Administrator was invited to speak to the agenda item on Civil Liability. He provided an overview of the Canadian compensation regime, and explained that Canada is a Contracting State to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 1992 IOPC Fund Convention. He noted the amount of compensation that will be available per incident under the "optional" Supplementary Fund, that is expected to come into force in the spring of 2005.
The Administrator said that he could not speak for the Government on whether or not Canada will join the Supplementary Fund, but that he understands that TC will consult with other government agencies, and Canadian industries before any decision is taken.
4. Canadian Marine Advisory Council (Arctic)
The Administrator was invited to attend the Regional Canadian Marine Advisory Council - Northern (CMAC) meetings held in Iqaluit from April 14 to 16, 2004. He participated in the Northern CMAC meeting held in Montréal on November 16 and 17, 2004. Participants at these CMAC meetings represent federal and territorial governments, and a range of operators from the northern marine shipping industry. Discussions are co-chaired by representatives of DFO/CCG - Central and Arctic Region, and TCMS - Prairie and Northern Region.
The Administrator has a direct interest in transportation of oil products issues for the high Arctic.
At the Montréal meeting, it was noted that CCG has updated the CCG Marine Spills Contingency Plan and the Arctic Response Strategy. These are key documents for the Region's Environmental response in the event of an oil spill in Arctic waters.
During 2004, Emergency Response personnel from Central & Arctic Region visited several communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They held meetings with wildlife officers, emergency personnel (fire and police) hamlet officials and council members, hunters and trappers committees, oil handling facilities personnel, fuel distributors, parks staff, and others. They also visited tank farms and shore fuel receiving installations for assessment of operational tactics and oil spill clean-up strategies.
Currently, no Arctic REET meetings are held in the North to develop a joint planning approach with Environment Canada. Consequently CCG seeks direct input from Arctic communities to develop oil pollution response efforts based on local needs and sensitivities.
A representative of Petro-NAV reported on the delivery of fuel oil to communities in Northern Quebec and in Foxe Basin. Petro-NAV is a subsidiary of Group Desgagnes and operates tankers in the Canadian domestic trade. The ships operated by Petro-NAV are constructed with double hulls. They are Canadian registered and crewed by Canadians.
Petro-NAV has been deploying tankers to Hudson Strait, Ungava Bay and Hudson Bay since 1997. During the 2004 Sealift the Maria Desgagnés made two voyages and the Petrolia Desgagnés three voyages. All fuel oil was loaded at the Shell Canada refinery in Montreal and delivered to 14 communities in Northern Quebec. During the 2004 season Petro-NAV delivered 58,000 metric tonnes of oil (Jet fuel, diesel and gasoline). The total operational time of over 165 ship days marked another incident free season of Arctic fuel resupply for the Desgagnés group.
It was explained that the Arctic Sealift has two different operational profiles:
- At Kuujjuag (Ungava Bay) the fuel oil is discharged into barges operated by Shell Canada, which in turn shuttles the cargo to the tank farm.
- At all other ports, the ship anchors off and discharges ashore through a floating hose that could be as long as 7 000 feet. This fuel transfer operation requires constant monitoring by the ship's crew in workboats.
Petro-NAV officials attribute its operational success and safety record in protecting the marine environment to the experience and training of their shipboard officers and crew. The lightering and fuel transfer equipment fitted in the Petro-NAV ships is designed specifically for the Arctic Sealift.
The co-chairman of the Montréal meeting, Peter Timonin, Regional Director, TCMS -Prairie and Northern region, provided TC updates which included the first voyage of the tanker Tuvaq to Kugaaruk (formerly Pelly Bay). The Tuvaq currently operated by Coastal Shipping of Goose Bay, Labrador is an ex-Baltic Class ice strengthened ship equivalent to a Canadian Arctic Class 3. The experimental voyage to Kugaaruk with Quebec based icebreaker escort was completed successfully. It is not know whether the Tuvaq will proceed to the area next season.
Mr. Timonin stated that in light of the proposed pipeline development in the western Arctic, tug and barge traffic on the Mackenzie River system is expected to increase substantially.
Steve Newton, DFO Winnipeg, spoke about the issue of transportation in the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area (Beaufort Sea - Mackenzie Delta region). He explained that DFO is currently preparing for the regulatory process. Management guidelines are being developed to help ensure that transportation supply routes through the "Marine Protected Area" are made available for mariners. During 2005 a major consultation process will be undertaken. An international conference will be held in Tuktoyaktuk next summer at which approximately 300 participants are expected. He indicated that volunteers are doing a considerable amount of planning and preparation for this Arctic Conference.
Waguih Rayes, General Manager, Nunavut Sealink & Supply Inc. and Desgagnés Transarctik Inc. gave a presentation about the Arctic 2004 re-supply. He noted that for the regular Sealift operations the company deployed motors vessels Anna Desgagnes, Camilla Desgagnes, Cecilia Desgagnes and Mathilda Desgagnes. Also, a 65 foot tug and a 160 x 40 foot barge were utilized for the lightering and discharge operations to Baker Lake. The company vessels covered most of the eastern Arctic communities. It used about 450 ship-days for regular sealift operations and carried over 130,000 cubic metres of northbound general cargo.
There was discussion about CCG's proposed reduction of the existing number of navigation aids in Arctic waters. The marine operators were asked to forward comments to the CCG at Sarnia. Industry representatives at the CMAC meeting indicated that they would consult with their shipmasters before responding in writing. It was mentioned that the ship operators may, in fact, be looking for upgrades to the aids to navigation rather than agreeing to the proposed reductions. Also, industry will discuss the proposed reductions with the Arctic Marine Advisory Committee and the Nunavut government. The findings from these discussions will be forwarded to CCG.
The CCG co-chairman, Julian Goodyear, explained that any infrastructure that is critical for Arctic marine operations would not be discontinued.
5. Garde côtière canadienne et Ministère de la Sécurité publique Québec
The Administrator was invited by the Canadian Coast Guard to attend a meeting held in Québec with the Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec and the CCG's Environmental Response Unit in Québec.
The purpose of the meeting was to better inform Québec government officials about the availability of compensation from the SOPF, and contingency planning, in the event of a significant oil spill in the marine environment. Provincial officials were seeking identification of specific operational activities which may be eligible for compensation. Generally they wanted to know what is required in the event that the Province makes application for reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred during an emergency response to an incident. They had concerns about the availability of funds for evacuation and relocation of people, and other emergency provisions to maintain essential community services. It was noted that there are risks related to a spill of petroleum and other hazardous products, such as the toxicity of oil products that could have bad effects on human health from toxic vapors. Consequently, people may have to be evacuated from shoreline communities during a large oil spill.
It is noted that in the event of a disaster in Canada, the federal government may provide financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments through disaster financial assistance arrangements. This financial assistance is available to help when expenditures exceed what an individual province or territory could reasonably be expected to bear in its own.
Paul-Yvon Deschênes, é.a, Directeur Direction de l'assistance financière de la Sécurité civile et des services à la gestion, expressed particular interest in being informed on the availability of financial assistance from the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund.
The Administrator explained the creation and principal elements of Canada's ship-source Oil Pollution fund. The SOPF is governed by Part 6 of the Marine Liability Act. He emphasized that the Canadian regime deals with liability and compensation in oil pollution incidents arising from ships of all classes, as well as mystery spills. As supporting documentation, Mr. Deschênes was given copies of some of the Administrator's recent Annual Reports to Parliament, which addresses how the SOPF liability and compensation regime is administered.
The responsibilities and duties of the Administrator include the authority to offer compensation to claimants for whatever portion of a claim the Administrator finds to be established. Where a claimant accepts an offer the Administrator directs payment to the claimant out of the SOPF. Every claim for compensation is investigated and assessed thoroughly on the basis of the submitted documentation and other evidence. The SOPF Annual Reports contain concrete examples of the types of claims that may arise. Some of these claims cover incidents in the St. Lawrence River system and along Québec's rive nord.
In addition, the Administrator explained how the International liability and compensation system works. Canada is a Contracting State in the current International regime. The officials were provided with documents published by the International Fund.
Since 1989, the SOPF has paid the IOPC Funds approximately $38 million as Canada's contribution to the General Fund and for major incidents. The IOPC Funds paid out to Canada a total amount of approximately $12 million for costs and expenses incurred respecting the vessel Rio Orinoco, which grounded on Île d'Anticosti in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in October 16, 1990.
6. Federal Judges Conference
The Administrator attended the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal Education Seminar - Marine Law - held in Ottawa on November 5, 2004. The conference was organized jointly by the Canadian Maritime Law Association and the National Judicial Institute. The seminar focused on several challenging contemporary aspects of maritime law, including evidentiary issues, and marine security issues.
7. Canadian Maritime Law Association
The Administrator attended the annual Executive Committee meeting of the Canadian Maritime Law Association (CMLA) held in conjunction with a CMLA meeting with representatives of the federal government in Ottawa on April 2, 2004. He was invited to the Annual General meeting of the CMLA held in Vancouver in May 30, 2004. The Administrator values his contacts with the Canadian Maritime Law Association and continues to dialogue with members.
8. Comité Maritime International Conference
The Administrator attended the 38th Comité Maritime International Conference (CMI) held in Vancouver from May 31 to June 4, 2004. The Canadian Maritime Law Association and its local host committee coordinated efforts with international and domestic sponsors to organize this successful 38th Conference of the CMI. Of particular interest at the Conference were sessions on proposed changes to the international oil pollution liability and compensation regime, places of refuge for ships in distress and, marine insurance.
9. Transport Canada Marine Safety Investigators' Course
The Administrator participated in the Transport Canada Marine Safety Investigators' Course (Phase II) held in Ottawa from November 15 to 19, 2004. The course for marine inspectors appointed under the Canada Shipping Act, is an intense one-week program. In his presentation, the Administrator spoke about the civil liability evidence requirements and the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund under the Marine Liability Act, as compared to the burden of proof in prosecutions under quasi-criminal Pollution Prevention Regulations made pursuant to the Canada shipping Act.
Note: For additional information on the TCMS Investigators' Course see the SOPF Administrator's Annual Report 2003-2004, at section 5.12.
10. On-Scene Commander Course
The Administrator participated in the On-Scene Commander Course held at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia, from February 28 to March 4, 2005.
The On-Scene Commander Course is designed for CCG officers and operational managers of industry. It addresses the on-site coordination and the development of clean-up strategies that are necessary to respond effectively to an oil spill up to the international tier 3 response capability (i.e. maximum quantity of oil spilled at 2,500 tonnes). Under the tier 3 criteria, the equipment and resources must be deployed to the affected operating environment within 18 hours after notification of an oil spill.
The Administrator spoke about the role and responsibilities of the Administrator of the SOPF. As a panel member he explored the interface between the Administrator and the Canadian marine oil spill response regime. This sort of interaction contributes to an increased awareness among stakeholders about Canada's overall statutory scheme for marine oil pollution prevention response, liability and compensation. As requested, the CCG College was provided with the SOPF Administrator's Annual Report for distribution to the candidates for their personal use as a reference document.
The presenters made comprehensive and insightful presentations. There were informative speakers representing the CCG, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, ECRC, a media consultant, Rigel Shipping, First Nations, marine salvors, Environment Canada, shore line clean-up consultant, and others. The presentations and case histories covering domestic and international oil tanker incidents were valuable learning experiences. Participants from the USCG, ITOPF, and member of the Department of Justice Canada advising DFO/CCG gave the training course a meaningful international perspective.
The On-Scene Commander Course, held each year at the CCG College, offers an opportunity for representatives from government agencies and the marine industry to meet and work together. The Administrator very much appreciates CCG's invitation for him to participate in this valuable exercise.
11. Canadian Bar Association - New Brunswick Branch
The Administrator participated in the winter meeting of the New Brunswick Branch of the Canadian Bar Association held in Saint John from February 3 to 5, 2005. The Conference addressed topics relevant to the Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education program.
As requested, the Administrator submitted a comprehensive paper on the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund and Environment Damage Assessment in Canada. The written papers submitted by various speakers were provided to the attending delegates as resource material.
In the session on Maritime Law the Administrator gave a PowerPoint presentation on the background to Canadian legislation on ship-source oil pollution liability, compensation and, the responsibilities of the Administrator of the SOPF. He also explained the current limits of liability and compensation available under the 1992 CLC, the 1992 IOPC Fund Convention, and the Canadian SOPF, for oil spills from oil tankers in Canada.
12. Simon Fraser University - Centre for Dialogue
The Administrator participated in an international conference held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, from February 23 to 26, 2005.
The goal of the conference, Changing Currents: Charting a Course of Action for the Future of Oceans, was to develop a blueprint for action that can be measured over time and elaborated for evidence of progress in reversing the negative trends and finding workable solutions for the future sustainability of marine ecosystems.
The conference brought together a team of international leaders, experts and ocean champions at all levels of career - academics, government managers and policy makers, industry, non-government organizations and community representatives - who will take the leadership in pointing the way forward and commit to following through with the agenda.
Considerable scientific information is available about marine ecosystems and many solutions have been put forth for offsetting the negative trends - for example, establishing marine protected areas, offering incentives to prevent over-fishing, global monitoring and mapping systems, legal frameworks, and others.
The catalysts for dialogue included several key presentations focused on current issues related to the sustainable use of ocean resources and analyses of case studies that identify challenges and demonstrate how positive charge can occur.
The Administrator participated in a Discussion Circle on industry perspectives. This dialogue addressed the question: What would it take to make industry's bottom line consistent with a healthy marine/ocean ecosystem?
The outcome of the conference will be a practical document containing a guideline for action for ocean and coastal resource managers and policy makers.
13. Eastern Admiralty Law Association (EALA)
The Administrator attended a special meeting of the EALA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 30, 2005.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss plans for an EALA organized New Directions in Maritime Law Conference in Halifax in June 2006.
14. Dalhousie Law School - Shipping Law
On March 31, 2005, the Administrator spoke to the Shipping Law class at the Law School, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. He explained the Canadian and international ship-source oil pollution liability and compensation regimes. He provided copies of the IOPC Fund 1992 Claims Manual and the joint IPIECA/ITOPF Guide to the International Conventions on the subject. The Administrator wishes to thank Dalhousie University and Professor Moira McConnell for this opportunity.