Confined Channel Assessment Area
The Confined Channel Assessment Area (CCAA) describes the narrow channels through which oil tankers would travel between the Kitimat marine terminal and the open ocean. The term was coined by Enbridge Northern Gateway in their project application. From east to west, the CCAA includes: Kitimat Arm, Douglas Channel, Wright Sound, Squally Channel, Caamaño and Estevan Sounds, Principe Channel and Browning Entrance. Within these waterways there are multiple navigational challenges as well as an abundance of ecological and cultural riches.
In terms of navigation, the CCAA intersects with two existing high density traffic routes – the Inside and Outside Passages – used throughout the year by commercial fishing and recreation boats, ferries, barges, and cruise ships in the summer months. Numerous locations throughout the CCAA will present close-quarter situations between tankers and other marine traffic1. In Wright Sound, where the Queen of the North ferry struck Gill Island and sank in 2006, tankers will have to maneuver through a challenging “S-curve”2. As stated by Enbridge in their application, the CCAA “is subject to seismic activity and may be influenced by tsunamis caused by offshore seismic events”2. Enbridge further notes the presence of strong winds and persistent summer sea fog in the region. Above all, passages of the CCAA are long and narrow. Depending on their route, tankers will travel between 95 and 105 nautical miles in these channels3. Geographic Response Plans have not yet been developed by Enbridge for the entirety of the CCAA and navigational charts are lacking.
The CCAA runs through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest; salmon spawning rivers in these parts are plentiful. Explore our map to see the other ecological riches and human activities that would be affected by an oil tanker casualty or spill in these waters.
The CCAA boundary was digitized by Living Oceans Society from maps in Enbridge’s regulatory application2.
2 Volume 8A: Overview and General Information - Marine Transportation, Enbridge Northern Gateway Project: http://www.northerngateway.ca/files/application/Master_Vol%208A_Final_12May10.pdf
3 Volume 8B: Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (ESA) – Marine Transportation: http://www.northerngateway.ca/files/application/Master_Vol%208B_Final_17May10.pdf