Shipping Traffic Jams At Major Ports Bring Problems To Surrounding Areas

Source: Hakai Magazine/Larry Pynn

Photo: kinsey/Unsplash


Satellite Channel shimmers in the autumn sun, while grebes and cormorants break the cellophane-like surface and gentle waves lap the shoreline of Cowichan Bay off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Mid-channel, disrupting the sightline to Saltspring Island, three red-and-black freighters up to 300 meters long await their turn to dock in Vancouver, just across the Strait of Georgia.

“They’re anchoring in residential areas but should be in an industrial port,” asserts Neil MacDonald, vice president of the Cowichan Bay Ship Watch Society.

Bulk freighters, mainly grain carriers, are a long-accepted fixture on the Vancouver skyline and a symbol of the city’s enduring history as a working port. But the sudden presence of those same ships anchored in the picturesque passes between British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands—as little as a one-hour ferry ride from the mainland—is raising the ire of local residents.

The community, says MacDonald, is concerned about the noise from generators and other sources, and the ships’ powerful lights. He says he’s been woken up at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. by a ship dropping anchor outside his waterfront home.

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Photo: kinsey/Unsplash

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