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Federal government describes response to fuel spill as "world class"

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – “World class response” — that’s what the federal government is saying about the English Bay fuel spill.

It’s the latest response after politicians from other levels of government started pointing fingers directly at the feds.

Conservative MP James Moore says it’s not helpful when people with only half the information are claiming to know exactly what happened and why…questioning the response.

“When they frankly don’t know. Because it’s an evolving situation, I think it’s unhelpful. Lack of information breeds fear, fear breeds irrational public opinion and energy that’s unhelpful.”

Moore also says taxpayers will not be on the hook for any clean-up costs, the ship blamed for the mess will take care of that.

To clean up 80 percent of a spill as significant as this one within 36 hours, claims Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard is a strong response.

“I will not accept that definition of my team in the ops centre or on the water,” says Girouard. “Look at the normal standards throughout the world, and what we achieved over the last couple of days was exceptional.”

As for the speed, or lack of which, at which the Coast Guard notified the City of Vancouver, he says it was unclear at first just how significant the spill was.

“The first few hours are murky,” says Girouard. “There’s scant knowledge. There’s not enough information to come to grips with the size, scope and scale of this event. Reports of pollution in Vancouver harbour, maybe not every single day — but they’re not an uncommon occurrence.”

This all comes after heavy criticism from the province and the City of Vancouver — both saying communication was a big problem.

The federal clean-up has started. The Park Board says the seawall near Siwash Rock is temporarily closed, as a result.