Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/617100
15 Winter 2015–2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings eliminated vessel traffc from the list of possibilities. Petroleum oil fingerprinting was also critical in eliminating natural seeps and submerged oil wells as the stationary source, leaving inves- tigators with a sunken shipwreck as their target. Extensive and laborious research led to the SS Jacob Lucken- bach, a freighter that sank in 1953 in shallow water southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. A sample col- lected from the vessel was a match to the oiled birds and the prior mys- tery events, solving the decade-long mystery. Monitoring Known Spills In April 2010, the world watched as millions of barrels of crude oil escaped from the wellhead after the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) explo- sion. 3 Despite t he t remendous amount of resources and effort devoted to containing spilled oil and minimizing the impact to shore- lines, marshes, and wildlife, major damage was done. Oiled birds and wildlife were recovered as crude oil began washing ashore. In the days and weeks following the explosion, the source of oil con- taminating the Gulf of Mexico was fairly conspicuous. Regardless, pru- dent investigators knew they had to collect evidence in an unbiased manner, so samples started arriving at the MSL one week into response activity. Petroleum oil fngerprinting proved to be an important part of Deepwater Horizon response, providing scientifc confr- mation of the presence of DWH oil in various locations. As of February 2015, Marine Safety Laboratory personnel had processed 518 cases, assisting investigators at the federal and state levels to allocate responsibility for damages. Oil fngerprinting has also helped rule out DWH as a source of oil in the environment. Signifcant public and media con- cern arose in May 2010 when tar balls were discovered in Key West, Florida, generating worry Deepwater Horizon oil had migrated into the Gulf Current loop. In response, USCG Air Station Miami personnel few tar ball samples to the Marine Safety Laboratory for analysis. Within hours of tak- ing custody of the samples, MSL staffers confrmed the tar balls did not derive from DWH and were able to notify the District Seven response chief, District Seven chief of staff, and Sector Key West commanding offcer. Personnel continued to test the samples Sector Key West and Sector Miami submitted through May 2011 (totaling 107 cases and 241 individual samples), confrming each one a non-match to DWH. Through petroleum oil fngerprinting, Marine Safety Laboratory personnel extract a sample from an oily water separator bypass hose, also known as a "magic pipe." Photos courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory.