June 28, 2019
Hamilton, ON – If you have been out on the water in Hamilton Harbour lately, you may have noticed a big new barge docked at Pier 10. So, where did this big shiny new barge come from and what is it for? The ECRC 400 is a dedicated, state-of-the-art, emergency oil spill response barge that replaced its smaller single-hulled predecessor a couple of weeks ago. It is the only oil spill response barge of its kind on the Great Lakes, and we are lucky to have it here in Hamilton!
Who operates the ECRC 400? The ECRC is a private oil spill preparedness company owned by several Canadian oil companies, who provide spill response services when requested. The company is currently maintaining an inventory of three 2,000 m3 double-hulled, dedicated oil recovery barges positioned in the Port of Hamilton, the Port of Quebec and the Port of Sydney in Nova Scotia. In addition to the large barges, the ECRC has towable bladders that can be rapidly deployed in the first 24-48 hrs in the event of a spill emergency, while large barges or other storage is mobilized.
The ECRC 400, the one stationed in Hamilton, can be used as a primary and/or secondary storage unit during an oil recovery operation using a sweep system and skimmer. It is fitted with twin diesel generators, a crane, an anchor system, and a portable capstan with six mounting locations. The barge was built in Ile aux Coudres, QC in 2017 to Bureau Veritas (BV) rules, based on the most recent version of Transport Canada requirements for barges that carry oil in bulk.
If a member company operating in the ECRC’s Geographic Area of Response (GAR), in the Great Lakes, in Quebec and along the Atlantic coast, has a spill or require the assistance of ECRC, they report an emergency by calling a 24-hour number to trigger a deployment response. ECRC’s call-out process quickly begins to activate ECRC personnel, contractors and equipment to the degree necessary to respond to the size and circumstances of the spill. ECRC and Environment Canada use advanced geo-referencing computer software to catalogue the critical sensitivity information for the coastline and waterways within their GAR.
This is one of the ways our industry partners do their part in helping keep our #workingwaterfront safe and clean!