On April 8th, 2015, the grain ship Marathassa spilled 2,700 litres of highly toxic bunker fuel into the heart of Vancouver’s English Bay. The response to the spill was slow and ineffective and significant amounts of oil washed up on Vancouver’s beloved beaches. While much attention was turned to the inept response to the spill, the truth is that there is no way to clean up a major oil spill. Much oil sunk to the ocean floor and the rest found its way into other parts of the local ecosystem where it remains.

This spill was an acute reminder of the local risks posed by the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion into nearby Burnaby and the huge increase in oil tanker traffic through English Bay and along the West Coast that would result from the project’s approval. The pipeline and tankers would be carrying tar sands’ oil. This chemically diluted bitumen, or “dilbit” as it is known is highly toxic and its production and burning is high in CO2.

Members of 350Vancouver gathered on English Bay Beach to celebrate Earth Day and communicate a message calling for citizens to “Wake Up Stand Up” and that “Oil and Water Don’t Mix“.


Click on the image above and watch it transform!


Photos by Zack Embree

For more information on the oil spill click on  Globe and Mail article