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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Page 55 of 102

53 Spring 2015 Proceedings also be referred to as "petroleum distillate," which is a dan- gerous good under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. Some of its hazards include: • It is easily ignited via heat, spark, or fame. • The vapors form explosive mixtures with air. • Contact can be toxic. • It is volatile at room temperature. Additionally, once the diluent is separated from the prod- uct, the original physical properties of the bitumen return, which emulate characteristics of roofng tar. In a marine or aquatic environment, and under the right conditions, this dense product could sink to the bottom of the impacted waterway, making recovery efforts far more challenging and time-consuming. Volatile Organic Compounds As it would happen, low-viscosity oil response is no picnic, either. The Gulf Strike Team recently responded to such a spill into the Mississippi River after a tank barge was breached during a collision. Even under cool atmospheric conditions (approx- imately 45°F), 12 hours after the incident, the air around the damaged barge still registered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of 200+ ppm, and ben- zene levels measured 40.2 ppm, which signifcantly exceeded Coast Guard personnel occupational exposure limit. In addition to physical measure- ments, subsequent laboratory analysis found levels for naphthalene, a highly toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, at 2,000 ppm. Volatile organic compounds are health hazards, and each type of oil is acknowledged to contain these compounds, which present, at a minimum, an inhalation hazard to responders. To mitigate this hazard, responders should deploy appropriate detection equipment to identify and quantify the hazard, then implement appro- priate personnel protective strategies, such as air purifying respirators. Each strike team maintains air monitoring equipment that can quantitatively and qualitatively identify hazards, includ- ing BTEX. Additionally, strike teams and the National Strike Force Coordination Center have staff industrial hygienists who can help response personnel evaluate risks, interpret SDS information, and develop and review site safety plans. So on-scene coordinators can contact their servicing strike team should a need arise for air monitoring equipment, response personnel, or consultation regarding safety proto- cols and response tactics. About the author: LT Aaron Jozsef is the Gulf Strike Team chemical offcer. He previously served as a deck watch offcer aboard USCGC Valiant and as a District 7 SAR controller. LT Jozsef graduated from the University of Miami with a marine science degree. Editor's note: Some of the incident statistics and information in this article come from internal Coast Guard reports and may not be avail- able online. Important Considerations ■ Consider the product, its hazardous properties and values, and recognize that variations may exist. ■ Do not ascribe to any generalization for a product—thoroughly inspect and understand the safety data sheet. ■ Properly detect, identify, and quantify hazards, before taking action. ■ Use appropriate air monitoring equipment. ■ Develop efective protection strategies and miti- gate hazards through safety protocols. Chief Petty Offcer Clifford Brack, a damage controlman with the Gulf Strike Team, inspects a barge. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Matthew Schofeld.

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