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Union: Sunken US tug a consequence of foreign crews in Canadian waters

Jan 13, 2017 09:51 AM

A union leader cites Nathan E. Stewart as Canadian maritime workers protest federal jobs policy

Maritime workers in Vancouver protest the Canada-EU trade agreement on Thursday, fearing the loss of jobs and lower safety standards on B.C.'s coast.

Courtesy CBC News

Maritime workers in Vancouver protest the Canada-EU trade agreement on Thursday, fearing the loss of jobs and lower safety standards on B.C.'s coast.

(VANCOUVER, British Columbia) — More than 200 maritime workers gathered Thursday to protest "an attack on jobs" by the federal Liberal government, with a union leader citing the grounding of the U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart as one of the consequences of giving too much leeway to foreign crews operating in Canadian waters, CBC News reported. Unions say the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA) and changes to the Canada Transportation Act will cost jobs and degrade environmental standards along Canadian coastlines. "Currently if one of our vessels runs aground or gets into troubled waters ... we'll call ahead, we'll let the (Canadian) Coast Guard know, 'Hey, we're in trouble, we need help,' because it's our coastline," said Robert Ashton, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada. "If you look at what happened with the Nathan E. Stewart, that didn't happen. When they radioed the Coast Guard, they said, 'Everything is fine,' they sat there and they sat there and they sat there." The tug was aground for a month and spilled 26,000 gallons of fuel.

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