Fate and Effects of Oil Spills – Burrard Inlet and Fraser Estuary
Submitted by: Living Oceans Society
Dr. Jeffrey Short provides answers to some of the key questions raised by the application: Dilbit—does it sink or float? What will be impacted in the case of a spill? What problems does spilled dilbit create for marine life and for people who harvest fish and shellfish? Dr. Short has consulted on many of the world’s most devastating oil spills, including the ExxonValdez and DeepWater Horizon. He concludes that dilbit spilled in the relatively fresh waters of Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River estuary will likely float only for a matter of hours, during which time (as is evidenced by the recent Marathassa spill) it can reach and foul most of the shorelines around Burrard Inlet, English Bay and West Vancouver beaches. After as little as 24 hours, dilbit will begin to submerge or sink, becoming invisible to tracking planes and vessels. Once that happens, the oil can spread fouling more shorelines and the ocean’s floor. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds, as well as endangered whales and other marine mammals will be at risk of death or illness as a result.