Ottawa said the expanded radar coverage is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan . (Submitted)

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

The federal government is adding to marine traffic monitoring with more radar coverage along the B.C. coast to improve safety for ships travelling through narrow and challenging waterways.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says six new radar installations will fill in existing gaps in coverage for busy and risky stretches of water from the northern end of Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait and in the waters off Prince Rupert.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the new installations Thursday at the Canadian Coast Guard station in Richmond.

A government news release says the expanded radar coverage is part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan designed to improve marine safety and safeguard Canada’s marine environment and coastal communities.

One new radar is one slated for Seaforth Channel on the central coast where a grounded tug leaked more than 110,000 litres of diesel and other lubricants in October 2016, fouling shellfish beds near the community of Bella Bella.

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Wilkinson says the six new stations will add to the reliable and accurate information about vessel movement along the B.C. coast.

“This information will increase marine safety and reduce the risk of marine emergencies. This is another example of how we are partnering with Indigenous and coastal communities in B.C. to make our waters and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier,” Wilkinson says the in the release.

The new radar stations will be located within the traditional territories of a number of First Nations and the federal government says it has their support for the upgrades.

The Canadian Press

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