Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. - conviction information for 2023-03-29

Corporation details
Corporation name: Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd.
Address: 13080 Worster Court
City: Richmond
Province/territory: British Columbia
Postal code: V6V 2B8
Country: Canada
Sector or industry: 114 - Fishing, hunting and trapping
Case details
Location of offense: 150-12831 Clarke Place, Richmond, British Columbia
Case summary:
Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd (AP) is a supplier of wild fresh and frozen seafood products. AP owns the fishing vessel the Viking Enterprise (VE), which is a freezer vessel with on board refrigeration.
 
Between October 16 and 30, 2017, CIMCO Refrigeration conducted maintenance work on the VE refrigeration system at the request of AP, while it was located at a place called “Reagle Terminals (RT)”. CIMCO provides a variety of services to clients, including refrigeration maintenance and repairs. In order for CIMCO to complete the work, the ammonia from the vessel’s refrigeration system had to be drained. As CIMCO completed the maintenance, it was determined that the ammonia was contaminated with water, oil, and air, and could not be reused and needed to be disposed. CIMCO removed the ammonia (approx. 1800 – 2000 lbs) from the vessel’s freezer and placed it in a sealed / high-pressure storage tank.
 
On November 1, 2017, CIMCO offered to dispose of the ammonia for $19,000, which AP declined. The owner of RT became aware of the ammonia on his property, and requested it be removed. AP consequently moved the tank of ammonia to AP’s warehouse located at 150 - 12831 Clarke Place, Richmond, British Columbia. Anhydrous Ammonia is a regulated dangerous good listed in Schedule 1 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR). The driver for AP did not have a TDG Training Certificate, nor was he supervised by anyone with such a certificate. No one involved in the transportation or storage of the ammonia had any training in relation to ammonia or safety concerns relating to handling or storage ammonia. The tank was certified to hold ammonia, but it did not meet the requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods for highway tanks or for portable tanks.There were no shipping documents, and it did not have the safety marks required under the TDGR. Once the tank was moved to AP’s warehouse, it remained in the back of the truck that transported it there.
 
On November 23, 2017, an employee of AP smelled ammonia but was unable to locate the source of it. On November 24, 2017, a garbage pick-up service (Smithrite) for the business came to the area of Clarke Place to collect the garbage. The driver smelled ammonia in the area prior to attending to the site, but was unable to locate the source. His vehicle was parked very close to the storm drain where the ammonia water solution was draining into. The smell of ammonia was strong, and he began to have difficulty breathing.  As a result, Smithrite contacted authorities who came to the scene. 
 
Ammonia is a colourless alkaline gas with a characteristic pungent suffocating odour, and is a deleterious substance under the Fisheries Act. Ammonia is a very strong base and a little ammonia will drastically raise the pH of water and can therefore be is very toxic to aquatic life. On November 24, 2017, a Hazmat team arrived on the scene and found that the tank had been fixed with a device to slowly release the ammonia from the tank. The ammonia consequently was observed releasing into a storm sewer. The storm sewer emptied out into the Bath Slough, a creek that connects to the Fraser River, water frequented by fish. 
 
 
Expert witness testimony estimated 1,227 lb of ammonia was lost to the environment: 929 lb of which was lost to the storm sewer, and 298 lb was vaporized to the air. Thirty-six firefighters from the Richmond Fire Dpt were dispatched to the scene, at a cost of $ 8477.43. On the day of the spill, members of the RCMP, Conservation officers Transport Canada, City of Richmond, B.C. Ministry of the Environment, and the B.C. Ambulance Service, Worksafe BC & ECCC attended the scene. After the fact, an employee of AP admitted to setting up the sparging system for the release of the contaminated ammonia.
 
Charges:
Count 2 
Arctic Pearl Fishing Ltd., Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd., Xian Peng LIU and Kwong Man Sang Company Ltd., direct or allow an employee to handle or transport dangerous goods, to wit: anhydrous ammonia, without complying with all safety requirements under the regulations, to wit: without holding a TDG training certificate or being supervised by a person holding said certificate, contrary to section 5(a) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, and did thereby commit an offence pursuant to section 33(2) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.

Count 7 
Arctic Pearl Fishing Ltd.,Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd., Kwong Man Sang-Company Ltd., and .. did offer for transport, handle, or transport dangerous goods, to wit: anhydrous ammonia, without displaying all safety marks as required by the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations, contrary to section 5(d) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, and did thereby commit an offence pursuant to section 33(2) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.

Count 10
Arctic Pearl Fishing Ltd., Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd., Kwong Man Sang Company Ltd., and .. did deposit or permit the deposit of a deleterious substance, to wit: Ammonia, into a place under conditions where the deleterious substance or any other deleterious substance that results from the deposit of the deleterious substance may enter water frequented by fish, to wit: the sparging device, in violation of 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, and did thereby commit an offence contrary to section 40(2) of the Fisheries Act.


Enforcement notification: Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. fined $755,000 for federal offences related to transporting and discharging ammonia into fish-bearing water in British Columbia
Conviction
Result: Guilty Plea
Date of conviction: 2023-03-29
Court level: Provincial and Territorial Court
Nature of offense(s):
  • Allowed the deposit of a deleterious substance
Additional details about the nature of the offense: Count 2 and 7 : section 33(2) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.
 
Legislative details
Act Regulations Section(s)
Pollution Prevention provisions (subsection 36(3)) of the Fisheries Act 36 (3)
Other - see 'Charges' section Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. / Loi de 1992 sur le transport des marchandises dangereuses.
Sentencing
Date of sentencing: 2023-03-29
Location of sentencing: Vancouver, British Columbia
Sentence(s):
  • Penalty for the EDF
Amount of fine(s): $755,000
Sentencing details:
On 29 March 2023, before the Provincial Court at Vancouver, British Columbia, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was convicted (Count 2) of failing to comply with safety and security requirements, contrary to section 5(a) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, and was ordered a fine in the amount of $27,500.
 
On 29 March 2023, before the Provincial Court at Vancouver, British Columbia, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was convicted (Count 7) of failing to comply with safety standards or to display safety marks, contrary to section 5(d) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, and was ordered a fine in the amount of $27,500.
 
On 29 March 2023, before the Provincial Court at Vancouver, British Columbia, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was convicted (Count 10) of depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish, contrary to section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, and was ordered a fine in the amount of $700,000.
 
On 19 July 2023, before the Provincial Court at Vancouver, British Columbia, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $8,477.43 to be paid to the City of Richmond.
 
$700,000 of the fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and will be used to support projects that have a positive impact on Canada’s natural environment
 
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