UPDATED - Cermaq Canada Faces Challenges on Stormy Christmas: Comprehensive Response Underway

A plan has been approved by WorkSafe BC and activities have now commenced at the site.

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UPDATE: January 23, 2024

This incident was immediately reported to WorkSafe BC, which in turn triggered regulatory obligations for a thorough investigation. That investigation has been ongoing since December 27, 2023, in collaboration with WorkSafe BC. Cermaq Canada’s ability to proceed with cleanup and repair is contingent upon meeting specific requirements. One of these requirements included engaging with a structural engineer, given the magnitude of the structural failure of the barge. This analysis took place over the past two weeks, with a qualified professional visiting the site. Cermaq then submitted an engineered plan to WorkSafe BC for review and approval. That plan was recently approved, and site activities have now begun.

The approved plan outlines a staged process and may take as many as 3 months to complete. Once again, we would like to recognize our staff for their diligence in following protocol in this case and for their daily commitment to safety on our sites.

– On the evening of Dec 25, the feed and accommodation barge at Bawden Point, one of our marine salmon farm operations in Clayoquot Sound, Ahousaht territory, sustained damage due to severe weather conditions. The damage was contained to the warehouse area of the barge and was classified as a partial building collapse. No staff were injured during the incident. A contracted crew vessel from Ahousaht village was dispatched to relocate staff to a nearby site for their safety.

During a second weather event on Dec 27th, the damage to the barge was much more significant due to its already compromised state. Some bags of feed were lost in this second event. Building materials were also lost as the structure continued to deteriorate. Despite the still challenging conditions, staff are diligently working to locate all lost materials.

Cermaq Canada promptly notified Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS). WorkSafe BC was also notified, as well as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We have been working closely with certified contractors, as well as the Ahousaht First Nation, to assess the damage and develop both short and long-term plans.

We remain focused on addressing the challenges posed by the ongoing adverse weather conditions. The primary goal is to relocate the damaged barge to a more sheltered location as soon as possible, pending favorable weather conditions. The company is actively working with key stakeholders to ensure the safety of its staff and minimize further damage and losses.

Our employees work 365 days a year and are often faced with challenging weather conditions that can put them at risk. We want to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their commitment to the culture of safety we invest in at Cermaq. It means that in these situations, staff and managers are prepared to deal with the circumstances calmly, effectively and in a way that protects the safety of all involved.

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