Vancouver Island

BC, Canada


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Monthly Archive August 2018

anchorages Ladsymith Saltair

They are too big for this area

Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 8:51 PM
To: Poruks, Vija <>
Subject: Freighters in Saltair

Good evening,

I wanted to advise you there has been concern about the numerous freighters in the small bay in Saltair with Transport Canada. You need to have someone come to the Island to see what is going on here.

We drove around the freighters the other evening on a Sea-Doo inspecting what they are doing they are constantly noisy leaving lights on when not supposed to be and the fact that the anchors are destroying our ocean floors is an insult to our small bays. They are too big for this area.

I have lived on Vancouver Island my whole life and I’ve never seen the growth of freighters within the gulf  Islands ever.

There has to be a better way and I believe the interim protocol should be stopped immediately before a disaster happens please do what you can to support this community.

Kind Regards

[Saltair Resident]

Response shared by resident:

From: Poruks, Vija <>
Date: Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 8:16 AM
Subject: RE: Freighters in Saltair
To: […]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your note about freighters anchored among the Gulf Islands.  Our apologies for the length of time it has taken to respond to your e-mail.

Ships have been transiting our coastal waters for decades, but with increased trade in recent years, their numbers have indeed increased.    Over the last few years, Transport Canada heard from a number of coastal residents such as yourself expressing concerns about the impact to the environment and to the communities, and it is for these reasons and others that we have launched a comprehensive review of all issues related to anchoring outside of Canada’s ports.    The national Anchorages Initiative is one of many projects under the Oceans Protection Plan umbrella.    Work is getting underway, and will include the following:

o   Develop a practical process to identify anchorages;

o   Analyze and respond to environmental, economic and cultural concerns now and over the long term;

o   Draft a best practices at anchor manual; and

o   Recommend oversight/management options for these anchorages

You are likely aware that at the present time, there is no formal management and oversight of ships anchoring outside of port boundaries.    Navigation, including anchoring, is a common law right. Canada’s practices are in accordance with international conventions and ships may anchor at any marked location on marine charts where it is safe to do so.  Each anchorage is surveyed and rated for maximum vessel size and no ship will anchor in a spot that is too small.    One of the objectives of the national review will be to determine whether new laws or regulations are needed for the future, but until then, Transport Canada’s authorities are limited to enforcing existing laws and regulations.

In past years, ships’ Masters in consultation with a Coast Pilot, selected the anchoring location.  Although the system functioned well, some locations were selected almost exclusively and a small number of B.C. communities had ships in their nearshore waters almost constantly.    The Interim Protocol is a voluntary agreement with industry to use all the available spots more evenly in the short term, and is also emphasizing to visiting freighters that their noise and light should be restrained near residential areas.

We recognize that for some communities such as Saltair, the effect of this temporary measure is that you are now seeing more ships than in past years.  As mentioned, a primary objective of the national Anchorages review is to develop a new, modern, anchorages selection and rating framework – one which will consider more than just safety and security, and address the other concerns that Canadians have expressed – such as impact on the community, effect on the ocean floor and marine life, and environment, just to name a few examples.   We will use the new framework to evaluate all existing and proposed new anchorages, and will defer any permanent decisions such as elimination until our reviews are complete.


Thank you for writing.





Vija Poruks, OPP Project Manager

Transport Canada, Pacific Region/Government of Canada

star gran

Star Gran in our waters

Hello Yvette Myers,

Thank you for your role in implementing the new Oceans Protection Plan. As a community, we in Saltair have been vocal about our needs with regard to ship anchorage.

I don’t know if the unwanted and unexpected arrival of the Star Gran in our waters was due to environmental conditions. However, regardless of the reason, the interest of keeping data about ship issues in the Stuart Channel remain. The Ocean Pacific Plan has indicated that the goal is to specifically reduce the harms to shoreline communities affected by shipping. We are asking for assistance in that regard.

At 230 am on August 6th, 2018, the Star Gran arrived. It dropped chain and did odd metal-clanging for a good hour. By 340 am most of the loud shocking noises ended. As you know, it is a heat wave. This ship is approximately 500 meters from the shoreline for the low bank properties in Chemainus/Saltair. The generator noise from this ship was disruptive and meant that one could either be zapped by heat in the house and get noise that still required ear plugs and a pillow over one’s head or open the window and give up. The sound cannot be muffled. There is no possibility of sleep.

The arrival of this ship is met with much unhappiness. Those of us who have tried to get ships out of this little area have tried and tried. This particular anchorage is the worst one and it is the one that we are asking to have removed from the anchorage list except in emergency situations. Yesterday, there were mountains and you could hear the waves. Now it is a continuous ignorant drone sound that prevents sleep. It obliterates the view. The sound levels impact wildlife in addition to human life. There are seal, sea lions, otters, birds of all kinds and also orcas from time to time. The minute a ship arrives they all leave. Apparently, the sounds drive off the fish so the wildlife must seek it elsewhere. In addition, creatures relying on echolalia are impacted in a negative manner.

My short holiday is coming. I do not even get to sleep? That is so unfair. There are other anchorages that do not impact low bank properties. We have company coming. It is summer. It is hot. They will have to be put up in hotels as no one can sleep at our home with the Star Gran’s generator and other noise.

My son had to get up for work at 630 am. He got no sleep after 230. I am trying to work, but I got no sleep after 230 when the ship arrived. If the ship is still here tonight, we will need to find other accommodations — from our home.

Please. Please if you can do anything to stop this, we would be so grateful. This strategy is not in keeping with doing the least harm to shoreline people. As a community in Saltair, we note that there are other less disruptive choices.

Please see the 3 photographs that are attached. 1. Star Gran from deck. 2. Star Gran from inside house (interstitial in the middle of the picture). 3. a view of what we saw before the Star Gran arrived.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for listening,

[Saltair resident]

labor day invasion freighters

Anchoring Too Many Ships in Saltair/Thetis/Chemainus

To: , Paquet, Alain , Myers, Yvette , , , , , saltair anchorage ,

Hello all,

This will be my 9th letter regarding the issue of having unnecessary and unfair and destructive parking in our little area called Stuart Channel: Saltair/Thetis/Chemainus.

I have been told that the entire protocol for the Ocean PROTECTION Plan is to PROTECT ocean/shoreline communities. Instead, we are surrounded by ugly, noisy, bright ships. There have NEVER been this many ships anchored here. One cannot look in any direction without seeing a ship now. This morning (August 31/18) yet another huge ship arrived. What is going on? Will someone please step up here and tell us what is going on! We were told there would be fewer ships. We were told we would be protected from the destructive nature of these ships in our small area. We are not open ocean here. We are low bank homes. This area is residential not commercial. You can hear these ship all night long. Their lights shine into my BEDROOM like spot lights. Think about that for a moment.

I would like to know who I can speak with who knows what is going on and will tell the truth. Our lives are being RUINED. This is not an exaggeration. We cannot sleep. We are anxious. The ships are too close to our homes. There are other anchorages that will not so disproportionately affect the residents on the shoreline. We were led to believe that the OPP would make thing better for us not worse.

We are human beings. We are human beings just like you. Picture your home surrounded by 6 rigs parked on your front lawn and on each side of your home — with their engines on and they won’t leave and you don’t know when they might possibly leave or when more might arrive. This is imprisonment. This is not the stated mandate of the OPP. This is not ethical. This is not Canadian.

Please let me know who will respond to me and or tell me the truth and or have a phone call with me. Please email me your name and phone number.

Thank you,
[Saltair Resident]

An appeal: please give me my old life back

to alain.paquet, TC.PacificAnchorages-Ancragesdupacifique.TC, Jeff, yvette.myers, louise.murgatroyd, harbour_master, robert, bonnie, contact.vancouver, me
Dear Alain Paquet,

I am writing you (to my understanding as the national director of the OPP’s anchorage concern) as I think we have finally reached a crisis point with issues created by the interim rotational plan (as currently implemented by Transport Canada for controlling the anchorages outside the west coast ports).

The stated goal of the interim plan is: “Transport Canada is introducing temporary measures to reduce the impacts of large vessels at anchor outside port authorities in southern British Columbia.” The plan has been running for 7 months now, a fair time to see how it works, and the results are that the impact of large vessels at anchor has been greatly increased. Our life quality has been greatly diminished with the changes; this is not subjective but a matter of easily proven fact. How can this be proven? Go look at your map showing anchorage occupancy and see for yourself. LSE, LSF, LSC and two more whose names I don’t know but which are directly east) are all full. That is 5 ships, today. I am literally surrounded by freighters.

During my near decade here, we have twice had times when nearly all the Vancouver Island commercial anchorages have been full. These were the result of two crisis events; first the Fukushima global crisis (which required safe havens for ships due to radioactivity), and the other this February with the grain ship problem. That is fine, thing happen and we all need to do our part helping. The rest of the time in the Ladysmith area, we would get one or to ships late in the fall, and generally one or two in the spring (which often stay for months). We never get ships in the summer at all. Now, however, I look outside and see 5 ships. Five ships! This is the same level of “impact of large vessels at anchor” crisis usage as Fukushima was, but it is entirely a crisis created by Transport Canada.

This is a huge negative impact on our lives, and in complete opposition to the stated mandate.

I repeat: Transport Canada’s new system of rotating anchorages has today, August 27th, 2018, created a high impact scenario equal to the result of the Fukushima crisis. There are freighters everywhere, in very close to equal numbers to and only as seen before during the reactor meltdown disaster.

As this is in complete opposition to the stated mandate, this needs to be immediately addressed. I have spoken to Via Poruks, Louise Murgatroid, and Jeff Pelton since February about the interim rotational system, in hopes of examining possible adjustments that might lower the impact of shipping in obvious ways (noise meters, removal of specific problem anchorages such as LSD, and of course durational limits for anchor time such as the 10 day limit the Port of Los Angeles imposes on all commercial anchorages outside of the actual port). As I have not seen any action take place on such suggestions beyond “thanks for the suggestion” it is obvious that I am unable to effect any change by speaking to the west coast OPP and Transport Canada representatives. I thus appeal to you on the national level. Please save us from this!!!

I hope to hear from you about how you will address this issue. The impact of the PPA system was far far less then the new one: we have suddenly been transformed into an industrial parking lot. I am surrounded by ships, everywhere I look is another ship; never before has it been anything like this (barring Fukushima and the grain ship time).

Please save us from this! I want my old life back. I am not alone.

Thanks for your attention here; I look forward to hearing back from you.


freighter in narrow channel

how close these huge vessels are to our coastline

As a resident of Saltair, I feel I must share my thoughts of disappointment and concern as once again our shore line has turned into a parking lot for these HUGE freighters. Perhaps you are unaware, or maybe just not concerned – gosh, you folks in power have so many other priorities on any given day I doubt one little tax-paying voice will be heard….BUT, maybe there is hope that someone who reads this email can DO something to stop this never ending stream of Freighters that have been parked throughout this summer on our tiny bit of coastal shoreline.

Unless you live here, you do NOT see just how close these huge vessels are to our coastline! Our little region supports tourism and prides itself on ‘clean’ environmental practices; yet the noise, lights, the practice of these vessels dumping ‘who knows what’ over their bows into our already delicate balance of eco-systems waters – and pleasure crafts that are obstructed in our narrow water ways…and not to mention the visual of these monstrous ships.
[..] for these freighters to be parked here due to poor/mismanagement of Vancouver harbour that actually directs freighters to specific locals while they wait to unload or load up with cargo.
Certainly there are locations that are commercial  – Saltair is all residential. This practice of allowing(directing) freighters to park within our region is a complete disregard for our BC communities and the tax payers who live in them.
Restrict commercial vessels to commercial ports.
Saltair is a residential community, and our water ways are for our kids to play, pleasure crafts and tourists. We are NOT a commercial harbour.
please, PLEASE use your authority to do the right thing and bring peace back to our communities.
With respect,
[Saltair Resident]
bc chamber shipping

Chamber of Shipping

chamber of shipping answer:

Hello Ms. […],

  Thank you for copying me on your email to Transport Canada. I wanted to let you know that I heard your concerns and am not ignoring them. I live in Victoria and was recently in Saltair to look at one of the vessels that was of concern. One of the most significant challenges with the review under the Oceans Protection Plan is the lack of a systematic analysis of many factors, some of which are identified in your email and the letter from your community group. This problem has been developing for a decade as the growth in exports has not included a planned growth in the marine traffic and the development of a management plan. I doubt that this is any consolation to you right now. From a commercial perspective, many of the anchorage areas in the Southern Gulf Islands are not commercially desirable either, as they are a considerable distance from terminals where the ships must load.

  At the bottom of the email, I have included the recommendations we recently made to Transport Canada. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I travel quite a bit so I might be slow to respond but I will eventually respond.

  Best regards,


  Robert Lewis-Manning, OMM, CD, MBA  |  President  | Chamber of Shipping
t: 604.681.2351 |  f : 604.681.4364  |  | |@COSBCtweets

pretty phot huge freighter

Why large vessels are permitted to anchor in residential areas ?


  I would like to add my name to the list of those upset by the use of the Chemainus/Saltair/Ladysmith harbour as a parking lot for industrial tankers.

This is a small, populated area with concerns varying from a diminishing orca population as well as many other forms of ocean life and nesting grounds for blue herons and bald eagles.

  I don’t see why these large vessels are permitted to anchor in residential areas that were not meant to handle commercial traffic. There are ports making money through the commercial hauling of goods and I question why this industry is not better controlled in order to prevent use of areas such as the one referred to.

  This vessels are huge, they affect the entire harbour even when there is only one at anchorage and I have seen four and five parked here at times. They light up the sky at night, are noisy, and have been witnessed and photographed discharging fluids into the harbour. This area is home to a large number of seniors who are affected by this and have trouble sleeping and I can only imagine what it’s doing to our wildlife and ecological system.

  As well, the towns of Ladysmith and Chemainus rely on tourism, an industry much better suited to our locale. The sight of this enormous, unattractive vessels has been commented on by visitors and family I have had here this past year and I can only imagine what image people who travel from around the world to our area take home with them.

  Please, isn’t there an answer to this? It really is affecting us and our natural environment.

  Thank you for taking time to read this,


disturbing noise and light

Two more letters sent :

“To whom it may concern,
I am a resident of Saltair and live on the waterfront. 3 freighters are currently in Stuart Channel. The amount of noise is disturbing. I am also concerned about the effect on the ecosystem.
In my opinion there should be no more than 1 freighter at a time in Stuart Channel.”

Good morning Jeff,

I am hoping this email will be waiting for you on Monday morning and trust that you have had a good weekend. This is what has happened here in Saltair over the weekend, we now have 4 freighters anchored, generators running, lights on (see attached photos which I have just taken from one spot on the beach here in Saltair, and believe me, these photos don’t do justice to the view, these boats are much bigger and closer than I can capture by phone).
 Please explain to me how this shows the Interim Protocol working (in your words) “to more equitably distribute vessels among the various anchorage locations in the region so as not to impact any single community continuously”?  
I look forward to hearing your explanation. 
anchorages Ladsymith Saltair

LSC, LSD, LSE anchorages

Jeff Pelton,

Thank you for acknowledging my previous email.

We are experiencing more ship anchorages than we have experienced before the implementation of the OPP. I was under the impression that the OPP was meant to protect ocean communities from the impacts of ships. Please help protect our waters.

I have a few points to present on behalf of myself and my immediate neighbours in Saltair. We are affected most by LSD, LSE, LSC.

1. Less frequent rotation is needed for low bank properties which are impacted more than high bank. The sound level difference is tremendous: (LSD, LSC, LSE).
2. Ship anchorage from LSD needs to be removed or for emergencies only. The ship is less than 500 meters from our homes and the noise and light pollution is unfair and harmful. Noise is amplified across the water and disproportionately impacts low bank homes.
3. As a community, we want to be treated with some dignity. We are being impacted in an unfair way by the implementation of the OPP. We are not complainers. We have been unfairly treated. Our environment and well-being are not being protected. We appreciate your assistance very much but are dumbfounded by what is happening right now (e.g., the noisy, unwanted Star Gran ship left 2 weeks ago and then just arrived again today. It moved from LSD to LSE!). (e.g., in August we never had this many ships).
4. Above all else, if you are not living here in Saltair, you are not understanding our lives. We are not dots on a map. We are human beings trying to live in the homes that we spent our life savings on so we could live in a peaceful rural community. When the Star Gran was parked in LSD, my guests had to be given accommodations elsewhere. Yes, my guests could not sleep in my house because of a ship parked in LSD. This is disheartening. I, myself, can’t live this way.
5. It is known that 75 orcas remain. That’s it. They swim through here when there are no ships. They disappear when a ship arrives. The ship’s noise interferes with their ability to eat and navigate. They will become extinct if no protected areas remain.

Thank you for your help.
[Saltair Resident]

dumping and fishing line

STAR GRAN fishing ropes and dumping

This morning there was banging and tool work on board, not possible to see from where.

This afternoon, we have observed dumping from the STAR GRAN, we do not know what it is, it has yellow and white shades in the water as you will see in the photo attached.

There is also a line coming out of it and most probably for fishing/poaching crabs. See photo

This freighter has already been reported for strong lights and noise at night by several residents.

This is unacceptable and we are asking the ship agent to be fined for pollution and poaching.

This ship has nothing to do here and there is no surveillance to monitor and prevent them to do these things.

We have also reported by phone to the coastguards and polluters and poachers line.




In follow up to this message, I note you stated that you reported the suspected pollution to the Canadian Coast Guard and the suspected illegal fishing to the polluters and poachers line. While I can’t speak to what sort of follow up you will receive from those departments, I can assure you that those were the appropriate channels to report the pollution/fishing activity to. So you are aware, I have also forwarded this message (picture included) to Transport Canada’s Compliance and Enforcement division, for any follow up as appropriate.


Jeff Pelton – BMS, GCBA
Marine Safety Inspector, Oceans Protection Plan
Transport Canada / Government of Canada