Fraser River LNG tankers carry explosive risk – Last chance for public comment

Fraser River tankers
How LNG Tankers would turn from from WesPac Tilbury Marine Jetty (Project Description – CEAA Summary)

This article is republished with permission from The ECOreport.

UPDATE: Following complaints that the CEAA email system for public comments on the project has been out of commission throughout the 20-day comment period, the window for feedback has been extended until June 24

Building a major LNG terminal in Delta would have a big  impact on the mouth of the Fraser River.  The diagram at the top of this page shows how LNG tankers would come into, and leave, the proposed WesPack Tilbury Marine Jetty. Even with the help of tugboats, they need most of the Fraser River’s width to turn around.

The National Energy Board has already granted an export license for a facility that could bring up to 120 LNG tankers and 90 LNG barges to this terminal every year. In the US, LNG proponents need to assess potential hazards all along LNG tanker routes, but the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is considering waiving an environmental assessment. The public comment period on this project is almost over – citizens have two days left to ask for an environmental review.

Fraser River Tanker explosion risk
Explosion risk zone from proposed Fraser River LNG tankers (

The above map, from Real LNG, shows the extent of the hazard area if there was an explosion. Note the red line, which goes out the Fraser and along the tanker route. This is a band 500 meters wide depicting: extreme hazard of combustion and thermal damage from pool fire if evaporating LNG is ignited.  Cryogenic burns and structural damage from exposure to supercooled LNG. Asphyxiation hazard for those exposed to expanding LNG vapor plume.” Though the degree of danger is less, there could be additional explosions anywhere within the blue zone if the LNG vapour cloud makes contact with a source of ignition. 

Said Kevin Washbrook for Voters Taking Action on Climate Change:

[quote]Whether we’re LNG supporters or not, we probably all agree that major projects like this need careful review.  However in this case public notification has been negligible, the comment period is absurdly short, and fundamentally important questions  — like whether it makes any sense to build a LNG terminal on a narrow, heavily trafficked river — haven’t even been asked.[/quote]

Citizens can write to federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq via the Real LNG Hearings website, to require a proper level of LNG risk assessment is done in BC.

More detailed information available here:


About Roy Hales

Roy L Hales is the founder/editor of the ECOreport ( He started writing feature articles for weekly publications in 1982 and his work is published on websites like Clean Technica, Renewable Energy World, East County Magazine, The Watershed Sentinel and PV SolarReport. He lives on Cortes Island in BC.

14 thoughts on “Fraser River LNG tankers carry explosive risk – Last chance for public comment

  1. Can you spell Halifax?

    There is no way to remove the risk of something similar to the Halifax Explosion happening within the confines of the Fraser River delta if these ships are using the this proposed port facility.

    Prudent Risk Management forces explosive companies to locate powder magazines in remote locations. When the ideal situation is not obtainable then the magazines have to be traversed with explosion proof berms to deflect the force of any accidental explosion away from surrounding areas.

    How does the proponent of this enterprise propose to traverse the possible blast effects if one of these facilities or ships blows up? Traversing a ship in transit within a densely populated area located on hillsides overlooking the waterway is a situation that can not be mitigated.

    All explosive installations need to submit detailed information in the pre approval stage for officials to evaluate if the location is suitable for licencing. Do not approve this proposal without the same due diligence.

    As BC has tied its political and economic fortune to the LNG industry it would have a perceived natural bias to approve this proposal. Please ensure that there is a full federal review panel assessment. Include in the assessment all phases of the proposal – The approach, the site, and the get away all the way out to the US border and anywhere these tankers could come within striking distance of Canadian soil.


  2. Forgive me for seeming a bit naive, however, isn’t this kind of detrimental activity at the mouth of the Fraser River somewhat dangerous to an already at risk industry that is a vital part of the First Nations people. That isn’t even taking into consideration the few commercial fisherman who are still able to make a meager living out of our waters. Why would any government possibly consider such an endeavor except for the almighty dollar and the potential for more votes in the next election. It certainly is not for the benefit of the people living in the province of British Columbia.

    The First Nations people of our province have utilized the land and waters of this province from the beginning of time to feed their families. Their cultures were forcefully taken from them during the times of the residential schools. That debacle has had far reaching, devastating effects.

    We are now seeing these people attempting to regain their culture and pass traditions down to their children. A huge part of that culture is to fish the rivers of the province and preserve the fish to feed their families throughout the year. An endeavour such as is being proposed is a risk to the food fish for these people and the people of the province. It is also a risk to the environment which casts many ripples outward in the food chain. When there is even a possibility of a dangerous spill, the protectors of the province (ie. the elected officials) are remiss if they don’t consider the welfare of the people, animals and environment more important than the money and votes they many garner with such a deal.

  3. Since the government of the day constantly reminds us that we are all risk of an imminent and catastrophic terrorist attack, is it possible to think of a juicier target than a loaded LNG supertanker in urban surroundings? All it would take would be one fanatic skilled with the RPG.

  4. Seeking clarification …

    Are comments sent to also being forwarded to the CEAA? Has it been confirmed by the CEAA that the comments (passed along by a third party0 will be accepted and included in the process?

    Would it be recommended for folks to submit their comments directly to the CEAA (as per their website) at and copy comments to Real LNG Hearings as a matter of public record?

    1. Thanks Star. I’ve passed along your comments/question to a spokesperson for the group and will report back.

    2. You are getting into another story I am following. I would send to Real LNG because:
      1. They are keeping a record, which is being made public and sent out to relevant authorities.
      2. The CEAA public consultation email has not been working for the first 19 days of this consultation period. No emails were accepted. Story, with screen shot of message describing the problem, coming. This does not fill me with confidence.

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