Halifax Harbour Integrated Response Plan (HHIRP) for Marine Oil Spills
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Shipping has played a vital role in the globalization of trade, allowing goods to be transported between continents efficiently and cost-effectively. While safety standards have improved dramatically, the increasing scale of the industry still poses threats to the marine environment. Canada’s approach to oil spill response has relied on National planning standards across the country despite certain regions transporting a disproportionate amount of oil. Area Response Planning is a new endeavor of the federal government, and led by Transport Canada (TC) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), that considers the risks and conditions specific to a geographic area. This project continues that trend and has been developed for CCG’s Environmental Response program to help organize and coordinate a response to an emergency marine oil pollution event in the Halifax Harbour. To provide tangible examples of response operations, five oil spill scenarios have been created based on vessel traffic and density, past spill events in the study area, and proximity to local sensitivities. These scenarios reveal how spills under a variety of circumstances lead to different roles and responsibilities for CCG and other agencies involved in response. They also highlight the sensitivities throughout the study area that may be affected and the needed response efforts to mitigate impacts. By focusing on the unique characteristics that define a region, this project allows response planning to be specific to its geographic region and can help inform the creation of further response plans in areas of a similar geographic scale.