Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

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.

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45 Spring 2015 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings First and foremost were the men and women who worked on this spill; but they didn't do it alone — we all drew on the lessons learned from those who had gone before us. Nearly 18 years ago, in a strik- ingly similar oil spill, a bunker barge cracked in rough seas at the Texas City Y, discharging 3,000 barrels of oil. 4 Fortunately, our predecessors captured that work in the Central Texas Area Contingency Plan. Addi- tionally, Marine Safety Unit Texas City exercised a similar scenario in March 2012, and, as luck would have it, some of those who had worked the 1996 spill were present at the recent incident. With a relevant plan and experienced partners, we were ready for this spill in most conventional ways. Deployable Specialized Forces Of course, major oil spills are hardly "conven- tional" operations for most Coast Guard units. Fortunately, we can draw on the Coast Guard's deployable specialized forces (DSFs), which are rapidly deployable technical experts with specialized equipment and advanced incident management capabilities. These forces go "beyond augmentation," since they fully integrate within the response structure, provide continuity through- out the response, and serve fuidly in a broad array of roles. Coast Guard DSFs include: • the National Strike Force, • the Public Information Assist Team, • the Incident Management Assistance Team. A Lot of Help From Our Friends Other federal agency personnel also provided important capability in this response, including the National Oceano- graphic and Atmospheric Administra- tion's scientific support coordinators and Environmental Response Man- agement Application (ERMA) support team. 5 Many local resources are also invalu- able response partners. For example, for the recent response, we used personnel from the Texas Commission on Envi- ronmental Quality to conduct air, sedi- ment, and water sampling and moni- toring. This allowed National Strike Force personnel to focus on monitoring vessel decontamination activities. We used ERMA personnel to cap- ture and distribute trajectories for the oil and we placed skimmers and diversion boom in those locations. As a result, skimmers sat three-abreast in the Galveston jetties as a weather front swept part of the initial slick out to sea — and into their path. A day later, we used the further trajectory to place skimmers offshore, dead-center of that slick, as it moved down the coast. Further, NOAA SSCs deployed to support us, including their contractors with shoreline cleanup and assessment technique (SCAT) expertise. In offshore island areas, where storms buried stranded oil, we quickly recognized the need to extend our SCAT teams. To our relief, DSF responders integrated into and rounded out the SCAT teams, greatly increasing their reach and allowing the teams to cover far more ground. NOAA extent of oiling map details heavy, moderate, light, and very light impact along the Texas shore, including the Galveston Bay. Image courtesy of NOAA's Offce of Response and Restoration, Emergency Response Division. NOAA trajectory, including offshore oil concentration. Image courtesy of NOAA's Offce of Response and Restoration, Emergency Response Division.

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