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Trans Mountain Won’t Increase Tanker Traffic As Much As You Think

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Vessels leaving the Trans Mountain pipeline’s export terminal have moved petroleum products through Port Metro Vancouver since 1956 without a single crude oil spill

BY NICK WILSON

On average, one tanker will sail out of the Port of Vancouver loaded with oil each day if the Trans Mountain pipeline is expanded, boosting its capacity by about 590,000 b/d.

In contrast, 15 million b/d pass through Phillips Channel near southern Singapore, where the Strait of Malacca narrows to 2.8 kilometers, creating one of the world’s most significant maritime choke points. There have been no major oil spills there, nor have there been any in the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil shipments leave the Persian Gulf. In fact, there hasn’t been a major oil tanker spill anywhere in the world in a generation, despite oil shipments dramatically rising since the Exxon Valdez sank off the coast of Alaska in 1989. Since then, new safety precautions have included double-hulled tankers and computer- and satellite-assisted navigation.

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