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 81 of 102

79 Spring 2015 Proceedings 1995 International Convention on Oil Pollution Prepared- ness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) provides the global framework for signatory nations to follow in preparing and responding to oil spills. 2 OPRC covers specifc shipboard planning requirements, linkages to national response sys- tems, pollution incident reporting, exercise program admin- istration, spill response equipment acquisition and main- tenance, and mechanisms to provide assistance during a pollution emergency. 3 Regionally based protocols, such as the Cartagena Conven- tion, also supplement the OPRC. This convention, which has been ratifed by 25 United Nations member states, pro- vides measures to tackle pollution incidents from ships, dumping, seabed activities, land-based activities and other sources. 4 Other documents, including the Caribbean Island OPRC Plan, Wider Caribbean Region Multilateral Technical Late evening, on Jan. 16, 2001, just offshore from the Gala- pagos Islands, an ominous situation developed. Aground on a reef sat a tank vessel, laden with 200,000 gallons of petroleum products. During the next several days, the situ- ation turned from ominous to catastrophic, as most of the oil spilled into the ocean and affected the delicate and diverse ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. 1 In response, the National Strike Force dispatched 10 mem- bers from the Gulf Strike Team to assist the Ecuadorian gov- ernment with oil spill and vessel salvage operations. The National Strike Force Then and Now Just as it was then, the National Strike Force remains poised today to respond to situations of interest domestically and internationally — be it an oil spill, hazardous materials release, or any other disaster. While many nations have robust capa- bilities to deal with environmental disaster consequences, others may need assistance in areas such as inci- dent management or response equip- ment operation. Moreover, incidents that occur beyond U.S. waters may still affect our waters, due to prevailing currents or other environmental con- ditions. Regardless of the scenario, there is a compelling need for the National Strike Force to maintain a worldwide deploy- able capability and to stand ready to protect people, property, and the envi- ronment. Response Governance Much has been written within the international domain that pertains to response planning and operations. The We're Not in Kansas Anymore International response efforts. by cdr Kevin lynn Commanding Offcer U.S. Coast Guard, Gulf Strike Team Incident Management Chief D.J. Toll (front left), one of 10 Gulf Strike Team personnel sent to the Galapagos Islands to assist with oil cleanup. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PACS Tod Lyons.

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