NAGGENWRIGER, British Columbia — An inquiry began Monday into a fiery collision between a cargo ship and an oil tanker that caused oil to spill from the ship, but the commission’s investigations will be no easy task as each vessel was more than 300 years old.
Neither vessel’s tanks leaked oil or burned, but inspectors said six of the onboard containers caught fire. Flames incinerated the chemical containers. An investigation to determine why the containers caught fire is expected to take months.
The inquiry was ordered by British Columbia Premier John Horgan in the wake of the crash, but the commission has limited powers. Its focus will not be on why the collision occurred but rather on ensuring that it did not happen again.
“We need to have an investigation based on the principle that if it happened once, it can happen again. Because, quite frankly, we must ensure that we are building a different kind of society, a safer, more sustainable society, and any such occurrence can bring that work to a screeching halt,” quipped deputy chair Stephen Harding.
The investigation will also look at the actions of the crew of the vessels — including how they responded to the collision — as well as those of the Canadian Coast Guard.