Mayor Gregor Robertson highlights federal refusal to offset city costs after 2015 English Bay oil spill

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      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to brag about how much his Liberal government is investing in addressing future oil spills along B.C.'s coastline.

      However, the City of Vancouver has still not been able to recover all of its response costs connected to a 2015 oil spill in English Bay.

      According to Mayor Gregor Robertson, the city filed claims on February 27, 2017, with representaties of the M.V. Marathassa, which was the source of the oil, as well as the Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund.

      The SOPF responsible for paying these claims under the Marine Liability Act.

      This City of Vancouver image from 2015 shows oil seeping across English Bay.
      City of Vancouver

      “It’s ridiculous that more than three years after an oil spill in Vancouver, taxpayers are still footing the bill,” Robertson said in a news release. “While we’re repeatedly told that there is a world-class spill response system for oil tankers in Canada, our experience shows otherwise.

      “Instead, we have to continue to put legal resources into fighting our case and chasing repayments," the mayor added. "This is yet another reason why the city has taken a definitive stand against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. If we can’t even get $550,000 recovered—from a small bunker fuel spill that took place in calm conditions—why should we have faith that we’ll be protected from the costs of a major oil spill?”

      On April 6, the City of Vancouver filed a notice of civil claim against the owner of the vessel for damages, interest, and court costs. 

      The City of Vancouver released this photo of a duck, which was being treated after being soaked in oil

      A city report in 2015 noted that the leaked fuel, Bunker C Oil–ISO 380, "can be carried hundreds of miles in the form of scattered tarballs by winds and currents".

      A few days after the spill, it had already been detected at CRAB Beach, New Brighton Beach, Stanley Park, and North Shore beaches, as well as at English Bay.

      Up to 30 birds were affected, including 15 to 20 at Vanier Park in Kitsilano.