LETTER: Dodged one bullet

Do you loath the idea of an LNG loading facility being built in our back yard, or just simply hate it? Well at one point in Squamish history LNG’s stepsister LPG almost pulled it off.

On Aug. 8, 1965, the “Mundogas West” was the first deep-sea vessel to dock at Squamish harbour — and it was no ordinary ship. Converted in 1947, it was the world’s first ship devoted entirely to the transport of liquid petroleum gas (LPG). This was an experiment to test the feasibility of shipping this type of fuel and Squamish’s newly dredged port was doing the export trials. The idea was to run tank cars of LPG down the PGE rail line (later BCR) from Fort St. John in the north, to the port of Squamish, where it would be loaded onto the “Mundogas West” for transport to the Japanese market.

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There didn’t seem to be much concern at the time over the “floating bomb” in our backyard.  Most of the ruckus came from the longshoreman’s union, who set up a picket line claiming the right to load the shipments. In total, four loads were shipped out of Squamish that fall. No permanent export site was built. The town did not burn to the ground.

But while the town dodged one bullet, another hit its mark. That fall, the first shipment of salt was unloaded for FMC’s newly built caustic chlorine plant.

John Buchanan



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