LNG carriers are the largest, non-military vessels in the world. Some are longer than the world's biggest aircraft carrier. The largest class of LNG carrier (Q-Max, of which 14 have been built) is 1132 feet long, 177 feet wide, and 114 feet high, with a cargo capacity of 9,400,000 cubic feet of LNG (equivalent to 5.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas). LNG cannot readily explode. The product must rewarm and mix with air to create a flammable vapour cloud. Nonetheless, the US Coast Guard considers LNG carriers to be at risk from terrorist attack, and assigns armed vessels to escort them in and out of ports. Read here and here.
Reference the following quote from a critique of the Broadwater LNG proposal, an import terminal that would have seen a floating LNG plant in Long Island Sound. Incoming vessels would have been carrying LNG to offload into the plant for regassification and distribution to the mainland via pipeline. TransCanada Pipelines was a partner in the project, along with Royal Dutch Shell. The project was abandoned in March 2012.
The U.S. Coast Guard Safety and Security Report requires a Permanent “No Public Access Zone” around the barge [LNG terminal] and an additional moving “No Access Zone” around the LNG tankers. A “no public access zone” of 1.5 square miles will surround the LNG terminal. This means that for the first time in the Sound’s history, a section of the open water body will be given over to a private corporation. No fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming or sailing will be allowed. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) mandates an additional moving “no public access zone” around the incoming LNG tankers that would be 2 miles in front, 1 mile in back and 750 yards on each side. Armed escort boats would surround the tankers as they transverse the Sound, marking the moving zone and requiring all vessels to get out of the way.
Recent e-mail correspondence, initiated by No More Pipelines, indicates that Transport Canada's Marine Safety and Security Directorate is unaware of the scale of the LNG tanker traffic proposed for BC's north coast (> 400 transits per year each at Kitimat and at Prince Rupert/Port Edward). The agency responded only with regard to Kitimat, saying that there are no plans for Coast Guard or Navy escorts, but not clarifying whether other security measures would be implemented. The agency was apparently unaware of the LNG plants proposed at other locations - Lelu Island, Ridley Island, Kitsault, Work Channel, etc.
What if Transport Canada decided to implement security measures after LNG facilities were constructed?
This potential issue has not been addressed in the Environmental Impact Statements for Pacific Northwest LNG or Prince Rupert LNG. Who in Prince Rupert, Port Edward, and Kitimat, who relies on access to tidewater for business or pleasure, knows about or has been consulted on this issue?