|The Dry Beam bulk log carrier, one of the largest in the world,|
in Victoria, BC after being damaged at sea. Photo: GVHA
The forest of logs on Pier B was from one of the world's largest bulk log carriers, the 186 meter (610 ft) Dry Beam. It ran into trouble last December early in its trip from Washington to Japan when a 10-15 meter (32-50 ft) rogue wave hit it, knocked the timber off track, and severely damaged the ship. Many logs went overboard into the north Pacific swells.
|Logs on Ogden Point Pier from Dallas Road|
Our forests, and forest industry, are being irreversibly altered by short term planning. Since 2002, the BC Liberal government has slashed more than 1100 jobs from the Forests ministry, gutting its ability to monitor this precious resource.
During the same time the forest industry lost over 20,000 jobs, and 70 mills shut down. As this has been happening, whole log exports have increased.
Deregulation of coastal forests has relieved forest companies of the requirement to mill their logs locally. This has caused a massive increase in the export of BC whole logs to foreign mills on giant ships like the Dry Beam.
|Cutting down trees thousands of years old|
is not sustainable, photo: TJ Watt
In 2006, the forests ministry recorded 320,000 cubic metres of whole log exports, rising to 534,000 cubic metres in 2010. Exports jumped 160% last year.
Bulk log carriers are floating our forests, via port facilities in Prince Rupert, to destinations such as China, Japan, and Korea. Along with our whole logs go the jobs that would employ thousands of British Columbians in a variety of value added activities.
We should be as outraged about the practice of shipping whole logs to foreign markets as the Haida were in 1996 when bulk log carriers were leaving Haida land with the very trees that made much of Haida culture possible - its sacred cedars.
"On August 1, 1996 Christian White and crew paddled out into Masset Inlet in a cedar canoe to confront the log carrier the "Haida Brave." The log carrier was loaded with cedar trees that had been cut from MacMillan Bloedel's TFL 39. This action by Christian and crew, and supported by 8 other boats and 70-odd witnesses on the beach was to give notice to MacMillan Bloedel and other forest companies on Haida Gwaii that the current policy of clearcutting the Islands is not acceptable." - from a conversation with C. White, and R. Stocker, spruceroots.orgRead more about the Haida blockade that helped popularize the plight of old growth forests on Haida Gwaii here. The Haida provide a way of viewing nature and the forest that the rest of BC would be wise to follow. They gave notice, as should we.
|Haida giving notice in 1996 - "We are re-assuming control|
of our forests in order to preserve them for the future"
Let's become a rogue wave of protest and stop the ships of destruction that are sailing unchecked through our faltering forests.