Commercial ship operators asked to avoid nighttime anchorage movements around Southern Gulf Islands
New arrival and departure window for ships anchoring around the Southern Gulf Islands is the latest collaborative measure introduced by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to reduce trade impacts on coastal communities
Vancouver, B.C.: Starting July 1, 2023, commercial ship operators anchoring around the Southern Gulf Islands will be asked to avoid nighttime arrivals or departures, as the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and its industry partners work together to reduce the effects of Canada’s growing trade on coastal communities.
Under the port authority’s new arrival and departure window for ships anchoring around the Southern Gulf Islands, ship operators will be asked to prioritize arriving at or departing from anchorages off the Southern Gulf Islands between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., to help reduce noise disruptions from ships lowering their anchors in the area at night. The measure will be trialed for six months, giving the port authority, industry, and Indigenous and local communities time to assess its effectiveness, both operationally and on improving the quality of life of coastal communities—ahead of any decision to make it permanent.
Outside of the Port of Vancouver, ships are free to anchor in an appropriate location for a reasonable period of time per the common law right of navigation, including around the Southern Gulf Islands. Ships have anchored at specific locations in and around the Southern Gulf Islands for decades as these anchorages are in deep water and can accommodate larger ships. Through an interim protocol introduced by Transport Canada in 2018, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority—the federal agency mandated with enabling Canadian trade through the Port of Vancouver— manages the assignment of 33 anchorages around the Southern Gulf Islands to ensure a balanced use of these sites to help reduce effects of commercial ships at anchor.
This arrival and departure window for ships anchoring around the Southern Gulf Islands, which includes several exceptions such as when a ship needs to leave its anchorage to berth at a terminal for cargo loading or requires safe refuge during inclement weather, is part of broader collaborative efforts to reduce the impacts of Canada’s growing trade through the region and follows the recent introduction of a Canadian-first anchorage code of conduct. Based on 2022 numbers, it is estimated that more than 75 nighttime ship arrivals and departures at Southern Gulf Islands anchorages will be avoided over the course of the trial period.
Both measures were developed in response to community feedback and as part of the Active Vessel Traffic Management Program, which the port authority is undertaking to more efficiently manage commercial ship traffic bound for the Port of Vancouver, enhance ship safety and environmental protection, and reduce the impact of trade activity on local communities. The port authority and industry will continue to collaborate through the Active Vessel Traffic Management Program on further ways to reduce the use of Southern Gulf Islands anchorages, including:
- The anchorage code of conduct, implemented by the port authority and included in its Port Information Guide, which outlines the practices ship operators anchoring at the Port of Vancouver and around the Southern Gulf Islands should follow to minimize their impact on coastal communities and the environment
- A port authority feasibility study into using an alternative mooring system for waiting ships to increase anchorage capacity at the Port of Vancouver
- Designing a centralized scheduling system with digital partner DHI SeaPort OPX to better sequence commercial ship traffic calling at the Port of Vancouver and facilitate faster turnaround of ships
Anchorages play a key role in safe and reliable supply chains, and the need for them at the Port of Vancouver and in the Southern Gulf Islands will remain as Canada’s trade continues to grow.
Captain Shri Madiwal, director, marine operations and harbour master, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
- “The arrival and departure window for ships anchoring around the Southern Gulf Islands is the result of close collaboration with our industry and supply chain partners, as we all work together to find effective ways to balance moving Canada’s growing trade through the region with community considerations. A key piece of feedback from Indigenous and local communities was that overnight arrivals and departures around the Southern Gulf Islands can be particularly disruptive, and we are confident that updating our anchorage scheduling windows will make a difference to those living near Southern Gulf Islands anchorages.”
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- Fact sheet – Ship traffic management and the environment
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About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the shared stewardship of the Port of Vancouver. Like all Canada Port Authorities, we are accountable to the federal minister of transport, and operate pursuant to the Canada Marine Act with a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The port authority is structured as a non-share corporation, is financially self-sufficient and does not rely on tax dollars for operations. Our revenues come from port terminals and tenants who lease port lands, and from port users who pay various fees such as harbour dues. Profits are reinvested in port infrastructure. The port authority oversees the use of port land and water, which includes more than 16,000 hectares of water, over 1,500 hectares of land, and approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline. Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia in Canada, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet, bordering 16 municipalities and intersecting the traditional territories and treaty lands of more than 35 Coast Salish Indigenous groups. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. Enabling the trade of approximately $305 billion in goods with more than 170 world economies, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.See All News
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