Canadian Coast Guard ship fined for speeding in whale zone

The following is the text of a news release from Transport Canada:

(OTTAWA) — On Aug. 11, Transport Canada took action to help ensure navigational safety and to protect the marine environment, due to the increased presence of whales in the area, by implementing a temporary mandatory slow down of vessels 20 meters (65 feet) or more to a maximum of 10 knots. The speed restriction applies to vessels traveling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.

While the shipping industry in general has been proactive in respecting the speed limits, the government of Canada is determined to have the temporary mandatory slow down respected by all vessels in the designated area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

To that effect, Transport Canada has issued a $6,000 penalty to the Canadian Coast Guard ship Sir William Alexander for an alleged noncompliance with the temporary mandatory slowdown. The vessel owner has 30 days to pay the penalty or to ask the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to review the facts of the violation or the amount of the penalty.

Transport Canada is examining all reported cases of non-compliance, on a case-by-case basis.

“Our government is determined to promote the safe coexistence of ship traffic and the marine environment in the Gulf of St. Lawrence," said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. "We are committed to ensuring that all vessels meet the temporary speed limit, and we will continue to take all appropriate action to ensure the safety of the whales.”

Click here to read the agency's notice to shipping about right whales.

By Professional Mariner Staff