The LNG Tanker Safety Map

Our interactive map shows LNG tanker hazard zones drawn from the Waterway Suitability Assessment (WSA) process used by the US Coast Guard.  In the US, LNG proponents must assess the risks that would be created both by the siting of an LNG terminal and by the movement of LNG tankers on nearby waterways.  Proponents must explicitly assess the likelihood and consequences of a deliberate attack on an LNG tanker. Neither BC nor Canada have similar regulations in place.

In the US, proponents must assess possible impacts on populations of concern, critical infrastructure and other features located within tanker hazard zones.  Here we’ve mapped out key features near to the hazard zones for the Fraser River, Saanich Inlet, Prince Rupert and Howe Sound LNG proposals.   You can drag the map to recentre and zoom in or out using the +/- signs.  Hover over points of interest to learn more.

Hazard zone distances in the WSA are based on studies conducted by Sandia National Laboratory in the United States. The purpose of the Sandia studies was to estimate  hazards resulting from a deliberate attack on an LNG tanker followed by significant loss of LNG and a pool fire or ignition of an expanding vapour plume.  The studies concluded that though the probability of such an event is low, its impacts would be severe.

  • 500m radius zoneSignificant impacts on public health and safety and damage to structures and vessels. Greatest hazard from intense thermal radiation from pool fire if evaporating LNG is ignited. Thermal radiation flux greater than 35 kw/m2 possible within this zone. Additional hazard from cryogenic burns and structural damage from exposure to supercooled LNG. Hazard from pressure wave and flying debris resulting from rapid vaporization (phase transition) of the LNG. Asphyxiation hazard for those exposed to the expanding LNG vapour plume.   Rigorous Deterrence Measures that should be considered near critical infrastructure include vessel security zones, waterway traffic management and positive control over vessels. Available risk management resources must be carefully evaluated. Coordination among security stakeholders is crucial.
  • 500-1600m zone: Hazards as for the 500m zone, with severity of consequences declining over distance. Thermal radiation flux to 5 kw/m2 possible at edge of zone – sufficient to result in 2nd degree burns on bare skin after 30 seconds of exposure in an open area.1  Risk Management Strategies that should be considered include establishing areas of refuge, community warning procedures and education programs.
  • 1600-3500m zone: Conservative maximum distance within which an expanding LNG vapour cloud may still ignite if it has not yet come in contact with a source of ignition (assuming an attack leading to cascading failure and complete loss of containment on an LNG tanker). Resulting fireball could burn back to the spill source and could result in intense pool fire at the tanker. Risk Management Strategies include establishing areas of refuge and community education programs.

1. In comparison, the BC LNG Facility Regulation (Schedule 1) only allows accidental thermal radiation flux to 1.5 kw/m2 outside facility boundaries when persons may be present in open areas without protective clothing.