|July 3, 2020
To All Council Members,
During the meeting Peter Stockdill reported that he had made a contact at the CBSA and was monitoring US vessels in BC waters with AIS and any vessels that appeared that they were not operating within the regulations set out by the CBSA were reported. Some vessels have been observed in marinas just a few days after crossing the border.
I was contacted by Roger Hind of Royal Victoria Yacht Club asking about some closures put in place on their territories by a couple of First Nations. One of these closures was near Port Renfrew and the west coat of Vancouver Island and the other was on the mid-coast. I sent a letter to several federal ministers including the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations asking for clarification but have not had a reply to date. Since the closure areas extended a considerable distance from shore going around would mean travelling considerably more distance and taking longer while going much further offshore. To read the letter click here
I also wrote a letter, copy included, which I sent by email to Prime Minister Trudeau, copied to a number of BC MP’s, expressing concern about the number of US pleasure craft crossing the border into BC waters and seemingly ignoring the rules about self-isolation and not stopping on the way to Alaska. Not only is there concern for the ones that do check in on crossing the border and then proceed to a marina to tie up for a few days but, maybe more concerning, are the ones that cross the border without stopping at customs and then anchoring along the way. To date, other than automatic replies acknowledging receipt, I have not had one reply to that letter. I also sent the same letter to Premier Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Sheila Malcolmson with the same result, automatic replies saying it was received. To read the letter to the Prime Minister click here.
Peter, George, Tom and Terry will continue to monitor marinetraffic.com and note any US vessels the see. After some discussion George and I decided we need help from more people by sending us information on any US vessels you see during your travels. To help with that we have created a new email address, email@example.com to send information to on any vessels of concern. We will gather the data and use it to reinforce our concerns to the officials. Monitoring AIS data gives us some information but we know there are other boats crossing that are not equipped with AIS and can move about undetected.
I can also tell you that George has contacted Keith Baldrey of Global News about what we are doing and that Peter Stockdill has contacted an associate producer at CBC which may lead to a story. I have no more information on that as it is in the works. George has also contacted the Victoria Times-Colonist about articles they have printed on US vessels crossing the border.
This is of serious concern as the number of cases in the US continues to climb at an alarming rate and shows little signs of slowing down. In BC we have done a very good job of controlling the spread of the virus plus, as we have observed, many boats are going into the smaller communities with limited resources to deal with an outbreak so we need to do whatever is possible to reduce, or eliminate, that possibility.
If anyone has any other suggestions of actions we can take please send them to us. I am going to write a follow-up letter to send to Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan as I haven’t had a reply. This is a serious concern and we shouldn’t let it drop.