Whittier community engages with on-water oil spill response training

The Council held its fourth annual fishing vessel oil spill response training tour in Whittier, Alaska, on September 25, 2018. The Whittier community was invited to join the council from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., on a Stan Stephens Cruises vessel to observe the training. Over 60 members of the public participated in the event, including 25 students from Whittier Community School. Whittier student Abi, 16, stated about the event, “It matters because it keeps our oceans clean and helps keep people knowledgeable about how to respond to the spills. I might want to do it when I get old enough.” The local fishermen participating in the training are contracted by the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, also known as SERVS, to respond in the event of a Prince William Sound tanker or Valdez Marine Terminal oil spill. SERVS is Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s oil spill response organization and coordinates annual oil spill response exercises in multiple Southcentral Alaska communities, including Whittier. Print PDF … Continue reading

Council issues position on safe crude oil tanker transit and escort vessel operation in the Sound

The Council voted unanimously on January 18, 2018, to pass a resolution stating that oil tankers and escort vessels should not be permitted to transit through Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska in weather conditions which have been determined by industry to be unsafe for training. The resolution was prompted by the upcoming change in marine service contract providers by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, including crude oil tanker escort vessel services, effective July 2018. Council executive director Donna Schantz stated, “The oil tanker escort system in Prince William Sound is an essential oil spill prevention measure that is vital to reducing the risk of another catastrophic event, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.” “If it is unsafe to train personnel, it is unsafe to transport oil,” said Council Board president Amanda Bauer. “This position does not just apply to the incoming contractor, but sets the standard to which the council feels all future new contractors, equipment and crews should be held. We believe strongly that these standards are needed to ensure the economic and environmental safety of the communities and groups we represent.” Print PDF

Report identifies concerns with tanker escort tugs being built for service in Prince William Sound

The council has identified some areas of concern with the design of the new escort and general purpose tugs under construction by Edison Chouest Offshore for use in Prince William Sound. These concerns and recommendations result from a council-commissioned analysis of the tugs by Robert Allan Ltd., a naval architecture and marine engineering company. Edison Chouest Offshore is taking over the marine services contract for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in the summer of 2018. Crowley Maritime has held the contract since the creation of Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The services provided under this contract include escort tugs, general purpose tugs, oil recovery storage barges, and associated personnel, all of which are key oil spill prevention and response assets for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers operating in Prince William Sound. Robert Allan Ltd. was contracted by the council to review and evaluate drawings and other vessel design materials provided by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. This review includes information that was provided to the council as of December 14, 2016. Print PDF

Council board meeting held in Anchorage

The council’s board of directors met on January 19 and 20, 2017. Topics included on the agenda included: Presentations by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and PWSRCAC regarding the change in Alyeska’s marine services contract provider from Crowley Maritime to Edison Chouest Offshore set to take place July 1, 2018. These services include key oil spill prevention and response assets such as escort tugs, oil recovery barges and associated personnel for service in Prince William Sound. A presentation by council contractor Robert Allan LTD outlining some concerns and recommendations on the new escort and support tugs being built by Edison Chouest Offshore for the marine services transition. Robert Allan LTD is a firm of internationally-recognized naval architects and marine engineers known for their innovative designs for vessels of almost all types, from high-performance tugs to ferries to sophisticated research vessels. A presentation by the co-chair of the Alaska Regional Response Team on their recent activities. The Alaska Regional Response Team is in charge of planning responses to oil spills in Alaska waters. A presentation by council staff on the Alaska Regional Response Team’s public outreach efforts to identify dispersant use avoidance areas. This process is part of the January 2016 update to Alaska’s Dispersant Use Plan for Alaska, and is designed to help identify areas 24 to 200 miles from Alaska’s coastline where the use of dispersants should require additional consideration prior to being used. A presentation from council staff regarding cracking that was found and repaired in the lining of one of the secondary containment systems at the Valdez Marine Terminal. In the event of a spill from a crude oil storage tank, secondary containment systems are designed to prevent oil from polluting surface or groundwater resources. Print PDF … Continue reading