Island Tug and Barge Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., received an award from the Washington Department of Ecology
for excellence in marine safety and environmental stewardship.
The Exceptional Compliance Program (Ecopro) Award will be presented to Island Tug and Barge at 10:30 a.m. at the Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center on Pier 66, 2205 Alaska Way, in Seattle. The award ceremony will be followed by a short reception, during which reporters may interview Ecology officials and company representatives.
Tank-barge companies receive the Ecopro Award only if they meet or exceed all 26 of Ecology's marine-safety standards for tank barges. Island Tug and Barge is the fifth company to earn the award since the program began in 1999. This is the first tug-and-barge company to receive the award.
"Island Tug and Barge has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by voluntarily meeting our state's tough marine-safety standards," said Ecology Director Jay Manning.
"Our company roots go back 50 years, and that doesn't happen if you are not committed to safety and the environment," said Robert Shields, president of Island Tug and Barge. "We handle a great deal of the marine petroleum transportation requirements for Western Canada
, and that work requires a very high level of management oversight and crew training."
Shields noted that his company has served industry and communities along the Pacific Coast for many years and that Washington's performance standards offer great guidance for the maritime industry.
"Our goal is one of operational excellence and enthusiastic achievement," said Shields. "Incorporating the Ecopro standards aligns very nicely with our vision and provides excellent direction toward achieving our goals."
Recent maritime casualties around the world have exacted a heavy toll on the environment, validating the need for constant improvement to international maritime regulations, training, communication and procedures, said Manning.
Ecology's spill-prevention standards are considered by many to be among the toughest in the world. The standards cover elements such as management practices, maintenance and inspection programs, emergency preparedness, vessel-position tracking, voyage planning, security issues, English-language proficiency, and alcohol and drug testing.
Manning said the Ecopro Award is for companies that go beyond basic compliance with Washington's marine-safety standards and is not limited to just one award recipient in a given time period.
"The Ecopro program helps reduce the risk of oil spills, and we encourage all companies transiting our state's waters to step forward and participate," Manning said.