A formal agreement towards a venture between SAAM Towage Canada and Coast Tsimshian Enterprises Limited is being hailed as an ongoing commitment towards reconciliation and one which will provide access for education, training and employment in the marine towing sector on the North Coast.
The joint statement issued earlier this week hailed the new arrangement and noted of the ground breaking nature of the initiative and how it works towards the principles of UNDRIP.
This alliance is the first of its kind for the towage industry along Canada’s Pacific coast and is a result of years of collaboration and dialogue among the parties. It is a true example of how Industry can honour the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous communities can ensure commerce is being conducted safely within their Traditional Territories.
Sander Bikkers, President of SAAM Towage Canada observed of the ongoing commitment the agreement brings forward
“The strategic alliance agreement reflects our ongoing commitment to reconciliation and to building trusting, respectful and meaningful relationships with local Indigenous communities, We are very proud to be trusted by the Nations to protect the Traditional Territory of the Coast Tsimshian Peoples. Many community members are actively employed at SAAM, serving in roles as captains, deckhands mechanics, and more. It is critical to have local crew to ensure the ongoing protection of the Territories; this is their home, and they take pride in protecting it”
Bikkers also observed how it will be implemented across the North Coast.
Through this long-term alliance, SAAM Towage Canada will be the tug service provider to all ships requiring high-quality towage, ship-docking and ship escort services within the Traditional Territory of the Coast Tsimshian, including the Port of Prince Rupert and Port Edward.
The alliance has established long-term sustainable benefits for Lax Kw’alaams and the Metlakatla Nations and provides access to education, training, and employment opportunities for their members.
Both Mayor Gary Reece of Lax Kw'alaams and Harold Leighton of the Melakatla Development Corporation shared their own comments on the formal agreement now in place.“I am happy were able to formalize our relationship. We value the contributions to our members SAAM Towage has made over the years and are confident that with our support, our Territories will be protected properly” -- Mayor Garry Reece, of Lax Kw’alaams