Likelihood of tanker spill from Enbridge Gateway as high as 14 percent: researcher

A consultant on tanker safety told the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel that there is a significant risk of a tanker accident occurring and that the pipeline is not in the public interest.

Dr. Gerald Graham, whose oral statements are online, put the odds between 8.7% and 14.1% of at least one tanker spill greater than 31,500 barrels occurring.

"Enbridge's risk analysis examines spill probabilities, but leaves out consequences," says Graham in his statement.

"The consequences of a major oil spill along B.C.’s North Coast, be it from a tanker or an oil rig, could be catastrophic and irreversible. Couple this potentially disastrous outcome with a one in seven chance of one or more major spills occurring, and the overall threat level posed by Northern Gateway becomes unacceptably high."

A communications manager for Enbridge said only double-hulled tankers would be permitted to carry oil from the proposed port at Kitimat.

He also noted that 1,500 tankers had safely carried petroleum products from the port from 1982 to 2009.

Image by JasonParis