Ken Veldman, vice president, public affairs and sustainability, Prince Rupert Port Authority. (Northern View file photo)

LETTER: Port authority responds to anchor dragging letter

Port of Prince Rupert's Ken Veldman on marine safety practices and procedures


In response to Luanne Roth’s letter to the editor dated April 11, 2019, I would like to provide some clarification regarding anchor dragging incidents at the Port of Prince Rupert.

READ MORE: LETTER: Anchor dragging is a significant event

Anchor drags are not insignificant, but are considered a low-risk incident because of active preparedness, monitoring, and response outlined in the Port’s practices and procedures contained in the Port Information Guide.

These regulations mandate readiness levels for vessels at anchor with specific procedures linked to wind and seasonality to mitigate the risks of anchor dragging incidents.

These procedures have proven highly effective in ensuring the vessel maintains its position, and are a coordinated effort between the vessel master and crew and the dedicated women and men at PRPA’s Port Security Operations Centre, Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications Traffic Services, BC Coast Pilots, and SAAM SMIT Towage.

Vessel anchors can drag during severe wind events, requiring an affected vessel to hold its position under its own power until a marine pilot can attend the vessel and securely reset its anchor.

Historically, anchor dragging incidents have been very low. From 2000-2014, the Port averaged 1-2 drags per year. From 2015 to 2018, the Port averaged 7 drags per year.

The Prince Rupert Marine Risk Assessment completed in 2012 by DNV was research specifically conducted to better understand the navigational risk profile of approaches to the Prince Rupert Harbour, and inform management practices to support increasing vessel traffic and the introduction of new types of vessels and cargoes. PRPA’s multi-million-dollar investment in shore-based radar was informed by that research, significantly improving the collective ability of PRPA and its partner organizations to manage our vessel traffic, including monitoring ships at anchor and automating immediate notifications when a vessel moves off its anchorage.

Through the Canada Marine Act, PRPA is responsible for the authorization and oversight of navigation within our jurisdiction through policies and procedures that ensure the safety of all users and the protection of the environment.

All new projects considered for port lands or jurisdictional waters require a determination on the likelihood of significant adverse effects resulting from the project. Potential adverse effects resulting from accidents and malfunctions are included in the assessment of every project informed by, and influencing changes to, PRPA’s practices and procedures.

READ MORE: Port of Prince Rupert president on growing trade in 2019

PRPA is continually seeking ways to improve marine safety and review our practices with public forums like the Community Information Forum, where we discussed anchorages in January.

Building upon previous work, we have planned a review of the Port of Prince Rupert’s navigational risk profile inclusive of anchorages in 2019 that includes quantifying and prioritizing risks and assessing policies, procedures and investments that can effectively mitigate them.

We appreciate interest from community members such as Luanne about marine safety at the Port of Prince Rupert.

We always welcome dialogue about improving our management of the harbour and our operations.

You can reach our community relations team at or via our community comment line 250-627-5621.

Ken Veldman

Vice President, Public Affairs and Sustainability

Prince Rupert Port Authority

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