The Canadian government has issued a $6,000 speeding ticket to a Canadian Coast Guard ship for travelling over the posted speed limit in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Since August 11, 2017, Transport Canada has been imposing a 10-knot speed limit for larger vessels operating in designated areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence due to the increased presence of right whales in the area. The speed restriction applies to ALL vessels of 20 meters or greater travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.
To that end, Transport Canada said it has issued a $6,000 penalty to the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir William Alexander for its alleged non-compliance with the temporary mandatory speed restriction.
The slowdown comes after the deaths of at least 10 North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent months, which have made 2017 the deadliest year record for the endangered mammals.
To ensure compliance, Transport Canada has been working with the Canadian Coast Guard and its Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres to monitor marine traffic and enforce the speed restriction.
In a statement, Transport Canada said that while the shipping industry, in general, has been proactive in respecting the speed limits, it has imposed similar $6,000 fines on the commercial vessels Seven Seas Navigator, a cruise ship owned by Regent Seven Seas, and the MV Petalon, a Greek-flagged bulk carrier, for violating the speed limit.
“Our Government is determined to promote the safe coexistence of ship traffic and the marine environment in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 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,” commented Minister of Transport, The Honourable Marc Garneau.
Vessel owners have 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.