Protect the Environment

The Nanaimo Port Authority, through a Letter of Understanding with the Canadian Coast Guard, is the first responder to pollution reports within Port Limits. Each report is investigated and where the source of the pollution can be determined the polluter is charged for all costs for the investigation, response, clean up and disposal of all contaminants.

Environmental Emergencies: Phone pager 778-762-3443 – Harbour Master – Port of Nanaimo

All oil spills are reported as soon as possible to the Canadian Coast Guard and NPA Harbour Master, and followed up in writing, within 24 hours.


What if You Detect an Oil Spill?

Who is Responsible?
It is important to note, an oil spill is considered a Hazardous Materials event and the responsibility for the spill lies with the offender. Provincial and Federal legislation outlines the scope of responsibilities and enforcement procedures including penalties and clean-up. The Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) has jurisdiction over the harbour and has spill response plans in place. The NPA also has a Provincial Marine Park (Newcastle) and Provincial Parks land in its jurisdiction and work with Snuneymuxw First Nations, BC Parks as well as the RDN for Gabriola in addition to the City of Nanaimo. The NPA jurisdiction is federal/provincial and interfaces with municipal lands. The City of Nanaimo is part of a multi-jurisdictional response; with a spill the size of what was seen in English Bay in April 2015, the lead agency would be the Coast Guard. The Nanaimo Port Authority has the mandate to administer, control, and manage the harbour, waters and foreshore of the Georgia Strait adjacent to and including the Nanaimo Harbour. The Port Authority and the City of Nanaimo have a very close working relationship and communication protocols are in place should there be an event in the harbour. The City of Nanaimo participates in exercises with the Port Authority, community agencies and partners testing various scenarios. The Nanaimo Port Authority, Transport Canada, Coast Guard, the City and private industry partners collaborate to mitigate and minimize damage due to a spill.

What Procedures are in Place?
The City of Nanaimo has an Emergency Response and Recovery Plan for Hazmat. The City can activate its Emergency Coordination Centre and follow procedures and processes in support of the Nanaimo Port Authority and all other agencies or organizations involved in a spill. Also, the Port Authority is a member of Western Canada Marine Response Corporation with satellite bases in the Nanaimo Boat Basin and Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, providing local supplies and equipment for optimum response efficiencies. All reports go through the City of Nanaimo Emergency Program, Transport Canada - Pollution Prevention & Compliance, Coast Guard Emergency Response, Marine Transportation and Environment Canada. These reports are followed-up. Hourly sight monitoring of the harbour is provided by Harbour Air, Tofino Air, Seair and Helijet pilots during daylight hours ranging between 80 to 90 times per day through the week. Additionally, Coast Guard fly-overs and Port Authority Patrol Division on-the-water monitoring is carried out with regularity. The Nanaimo Port Authority has Thermal Imaging Cameras and will be installing Optical Sensors on NPA Patrol Vessels to further assist with detection of hazardous materials in the Nanaimo Harbour and area. After daylight hours we must rely on other senses; odors are emitted by hazardous material which permeate the air and are detected when present on the water, especially down wind.

How Can You Help? Observe & Report
On many occasions, first response agencies rely on our good neighbours to detect pollution or emergency incidents providing an opportunity to react, control and minimize damage with onsite, real time information. An individual, reporting an incident, can greatly assist by tracking a developing spill and/or movement (if on the water). By providing accurate information, appropriate responses to incident locations are expedited, saving valuable time and resources with an opportunity to minimize contamination and damage.

Island Living – our Privilege… our Responsibility!
Living on BC’s world renown Islands and in the Harbour City provides both a privilege and a responsibility for residents and business owners. Together, we can work to protect our water, air and land to maintain its best possible condition for all life forms to flourish and to enjoy…..far into the future.

Download document “What if I detect an Oil Spill” as PDF


Green Marine Certification Port of Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada

The Port of Nanaimo is an official participant of the Green Marine Environmental Program. As a participant, the Port will work with a detailed framework to first establish and then reduce their environmental footprint. To understand more about this International program, those affiliated with the program and results to date visit About the Port – Environmental Stewardship and this website:




Green Marine Certification 2019 - Port of Nanaimo

Green Marine Certification 2019 – Port of Nanaimo


The Port of Nanaimo is proud to be working with local organizations that provide a focus for environmental stewardship which includes annual events such as World Oceans Day.

Rivers Day is celebrated in 2020 during September with a line up of local activities presented in a virtual format throughout the week leading up to Rivers Day.

For more information and for a fun, family-based learning experience go to

 > Your participation makes a difference for our environment <