An Angus Reid survey Thursday says 94 per cent of Canadian consider marine shipping generally safe, while 55 per cent consider transporting goods by sea is growing in importance over the last two decades. Photo courtesy Angus Reid.

An Angus Reid survey Thursday says 94 per cent of Canadian consider marine shipping generally safe, while 55 per cent consider transporting goods by sea is growing in importance over the last two decades. Photo courtesy Angus Reid.

A vast majority of Canadians say shipping goods by sea is generally safe and more than half believe it is growing in importance, according to an Angus Reid survey released Thursday morning.

Amid trade and pipeline debates, Angus Reid says 94 per cent of survey respondents said shipping in Canadian waters are either “generally safe” or “very safe.”

Compared to a study on attitudes of the shipping industry in March 2016, the group that considers shipping “very safe” increased from 24 per cent to 30 per cent in the latest poll.

Angus Reid survey results also show a majority of Canadians, 55 per cent, say shipping has become more important in the last two decades, compared to 43 per cent in 2016.

Despite opponents concerns of increased marine shipping with an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, Angus Reid says 80 per cent of B.C. respondents say they have a generally positive image of the industry.

Angus Reid sasy not surprisingly, the top shipping safety concern is petroleum spills of either oil (54 per cent) or fuel (51 per cent).

When asked about the confidence of marine shipping safety, over six-in-10 in Canada are “very” or “somewhat” confident.

The majority of British Columbians, however, say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried at 52 per cent and 57 per cent opposes increased tanker traffic around the province’s south coast.

British Columbians are also more likely to support a prohibition of crude oil shipments along B.C.’s north coast at 51 per cent.

But, 62 per cent of B.C. respondents support shipping liquified natural gas in Canadian waters.

Angus Reid says when given the official definition of a “major spill”, which is when 700 tonnes or more of petroleum is spilled, 68 per cent of Canadians guessed there have been three such occurrences in the last decade.

The organization said 11 per cent of Canadians guessed the right answer, which is zero.

When it comes to weighing economic impact of marine shipping to potential environmental risks, 32 per cent of Canadians say the economic contribution outweighs environmental concerns, compared to 19 per cent who say the opposite.

Forty-nine per cent consider the balance a 50/50 split.

In B.C., 33 per cent put the economy impact over environment risks compared to 21 per cent with the opposite view.

When asked about the confidence of marine shipping safety, over six-in-10 in Canada are very or somewhat confident.

The majority of British Columbians, however, say they are very or somewhat worried and 57 per cent oppose increased tanker traffic around the province’s south coast.

British Columbians are also more likely to support a prohibition of crude oil shipments along B.C.’s north coast at 51 per cent.

But, 62 per cent of B.C. respondents support shipping liquified natural gas in Canadian waters.

Angus Reid says most Canadians also expressed confidence in the rules and regulations governing marine shipping, with three-quarters saying they are either “very” or “fairly confident” in the rules.

CHEK