A large bulk carrier docking at Westshore Terminals in Roberts Bank destroyed a coal conveyor system early Friday morning [Dec. 7], knocking out the largest of the port’s two berths and spilling an undetermined amount of coal into Georgia Strait.
The mishap has put the berth out of service for an indefinite period of time, affected the port’s ability to export coal, disrupted customer deliveries and caused a yet-to-be-determined effect on the waters off the Fraser delta.
The loss of the berth, which handles ships with a cargo capacity up to 260,000 tonnes, is a significant blow to Westshore, which is North America’s largest coal exporting port. Westshore has one remaining berth, which can handle ships with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes.
The mishap happened at 1 a.m. when the bulk carrier Cape Apricot, with a capacity of 180,000 tonnes, slammed into a trestle, the only link between the berth and the terminal, destroying more than 100 metres of it. The ship went right through the causeway, taking a road, the coal-carrying conveyor belt, and electric and water lines with it.
(To read more and see a video go to: www.vancouversun.com/news/Ship+crashes+into+dock+spilling+coal+into+water)