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Transit Procedures

Second Narrows

Port Metro Vancouver has worked closely with our marine industry and government stakeholders over the past five years to develop new ways to further strengthen existing safety procedures when escorting all vessels through the Second Narrows.

The review included comprehensive simulation exercises and live trials with an Aframax vessel. This led to a number of modifications to the procedures in place, and a higher standard of safety. The new procedures involve new tug escort requirements, installation of new aids to navigation, and development of an enhanced training program for tug captains and ship pilots.

These procedures and additional aids to navigation are now in place. The new, innovative procedures further strengthen navigational safety within Port Metro Vancouver controlled waters.

A tanker is tethered to two escort tugs as it navigates Burrard Inlet's Second Narrows. Port Metro Vancouver and its partners have worked together to further strengthen safety procedures for all vessels.

Vessel Movement Procedures

The new method of tug assist requires a deepsea vessel to be fully tethered during transit, which allows vessels to increase capacity utilization, while improving the safety of their transit through Second Narrows. Vessels can load to 13.5 metres draft and carry additional cargo, reducing the number of ship calls required. The Port and its marine stakeholders continue to find efficiencies in capacity utilization and to further strengthen safety procedures.

Vessel transit safety standards:

  • Tug escort requirements
  • Pilotage requirements (two pilots)
  • Training standards
  • Transit windows
  • Navigational aid system
  • Transit safety controls
  • Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS)
  • Vessel traffic scheme
  • Decision support tools (First and Second Narrows)
  • Clear Narrows requirements

Benefits include:

  • Better risk identification
  • Improved overall safety
  • Fewer vessel movements for the same throughput
  • Decreased wait times for ships
  • Reduced air emissions
  • More efficient usage of the waterway and port anchorages

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