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Getting the Facts on Marine Shipping


After participating in the recent 2019 Union of BC Municipalities annual convention, it was clear that while many of these municipal leaders deal mainly with the “land-based” concerns of citizens, marine shipping and our coastal waterways have an equally important impact on all of their communities.

Whether they were from the coast or the interior, north or south, east or west, landlocked or on an island, these representatives all had opinions and, sometimes, concerns about issues related to marine shipping.

And as we talked to delegates over those five days, we heard thoughts and some very real concerns on a range of shipping matters. Rising oceans and climate change. The effect on coastal communities from ships at anchor. The risk of oil spills, clean-up and recovery. Getting products to overseas markets.

While there may not be a consensus on how to tackle all of these issues, there was a great amount of interest among delegates in learning more about them and being able to make informed decisions using Clear Seas’ user-friendly online resource.

Clear Seas provides a veritable library of fact-based resources and issue-focused web pages that contain video, audio and infographics for everything shipping, from underwater noise and its effect on marine mammals, who pays for an oil spill in Canadian waters, invasive species, and the impact of liquefied natural gas as a cargo and ship’s fuel. It features Clear Seas’ unique and extensive research on emergency towing vessels to help ships in distress to support safer shipping on Canada’s Pacific coast.

Clear Seas is an independent non-profit organization launched in 2015 to provide fact-based information on sustainable marine shipping. Initial funding came from Transport Canada, Alberta Energy and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

With temperatures rising in the debate around shipping and the products that we import and export, they recognized it is important to provide a place where Canadians can get trustworthy data in a non-partisan way.

A Resource For Students, Teachers and the Public

Clear Seas’ research is developed by staff in consultation with stakeholders with the participation of a research advisory committee in response to relevant and emerging Canadian marine shipping issues. Materials are peer-reviewed for accuracy and publicly shared in an online library.

Now, Clear Seas has become the first port-of-call for students, teachers, policy makers, scientists and science-minded, marine shippers and even students of the Canadian Coast Guard College which uses the Wheel of Maritime Law – a one-stop location for all of the legislation around marine shipping – as part of its curriculum.

As conversations intensify, the Clear Seas site is an important first stop for Canadians who want the facts, plain and simple.


Edward Downing is the Communications Director at the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, Vancouver, BC. You can find out more at He can be reached at Tel.: (604) 408-1648 ext. 106 or cell: (604) 817-3058

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