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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48 Proceedings Spring 2015 NOAA's scientifc support role began with a major spill off the New England coast. On Dec. 15, 1976, the tanker Argo Merchant ran aground on Nantucket Shoals and eventu- ally broke in half, spilling its entire cargo of 7.7 million gallons of heavy fuel oil and threatening damage to the region's produc- tive fshing grounds. 1 Earlier that year, NOAA had established the spilled oil research team to study the effects of oil and gas exploration in Alaska. This team was a network of coastal geologists, marine biologists, chemists, and oceanog- raphers that deployed to spills to investi- gate oil spill impact. Before this, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists focused on research rather than spill support. That focus shifted, however, when the storm-struck Argo Merchant ran aground. Between the Spills NOAA's efforts to mitigate coastal hazards. by Mr. doug Helton Incident Operations Coordinator NOAA Offce of Response and Restoration Oil Spill Response No matter the size or location, oil and chemical spills can affect human and environmental health. In almost 40 years of responding to spills, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has pro- vided scientific support for nearly 3,000 marine and inland oil and chemical spills, including many major international spills. Working with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and other federal, state, and local government agencies, NOAA scientists continue to respond, clean up, and restore the environment after oil and chemical spills. Two halves of the tanker SS Argo Merchant swirl in a sea of foam before sinking. The tanker broke into two pieces after running aground. Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Historian's Offce. The unique and often harsh environment found in the coastal village of Wainwright, Alaska, illustrates the challenges of conducting oil spill response and environmental restoration in the Arctic. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

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