Council representatives visit Louisiana shipyards

Visitors come away impressed with new construction and Edison Chouest Offshore personnel New information shared with the Council along with tours of Edison Chouest facilities has begun to alleviate some concerns related to the change of marine services contractors in Prince William Sound, some concerns remain. Tours of facilities Council representatives visited Louisiana in May, June, and October to tour Edison Chouest’s shipyards, headquarters, and training facilities, where the company is building the new escort tugs and response vessels that will make up the Prince William Sound oil spill prevention and response system starting next year. The visitors were given unfettered access to Edison Chouest’s staff and the opportunity to ask questions about their operations. Those present were impressed with the facilities and the company culture focusing on safety and cultivating competent staff. The quality of workmanship and use of new technologies were also on display. Print PDF … Continue reading

Oil spill contingency plans for Prince William Sound under review

Many changes stemming from transition of marine services contractor to Edison Chouest By Linda Swiss Council Project Manager Updates to two oil spill prevention and response contingency plans are currently underway. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, or ADEC, solicited public comments regarding the changes to the spill prevention and response plans this past summer. The plans are prepared by the operators of Alyeska’s marine terminal and oil tankers and are subject to state approval. These plans specify what operators will do to prevent and clean up oil spills. There are separate plans for spills from the Valdez Marine Terminal and from the tankers that carry oil. Both plans undergo an approval process approximately every five years. With the marine services transition in Prince William Sound, Edison Chouest Offshore’s new equipment means the details in the plans will change, triggering a public review. In 43 pages of formal comments submitted to ADEC in August and September, the Council made a number of recommendations to either maintain the same level of preparedness or improve the proposed plans. Print PDF … Continue reading

North Slope crude oil spills into Port Valdez

On September 21, approximately 100 gallons of North Slope Crude oil was spilled into Port Valdez. The spill occurred during a planned annual leak-test of the pipes that load oil onto tankers out at the end of loading Berth 5 at the Valdez Marine Terminal. To conduct the annual test, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company uses the berth’s fire system to pump seawater into the crude piping to a pressure of 190 PSI, or pounds per square inch. That pressure is held for a prescribed amount of time to allow inspectors to visually check the pipes for leaks. However, that day Alyeska was unable to achieve the necessary 190 PSI test pressure and an apparent operational error led to a mixture of crude oil and seawater being spilled into Port Valdez. Alyeska is conducting a thorough investigation of the spill. Print PDF … Continue reading

We trust, but we must also verify, new improvements in system

Thorough training, paired with a robust array of drills and exercises, will produce the safest prevention and response system From the Executive Director, Donna Schantz In most professions, it takes time, training, and on-the job learning to do a job well. A doctor or an electrician may earn a degree, but it can take years to become proficient. They must practice and observe a variety of situations before they are trusted to perform surgery or operate independently with live electrical current. The oil spill prevention and response profession is no different. In this next year, Edison Chouest Offshore will be bringing in new tugs and barges custom-built for Prince William Sound, new equipment, and new personnel, all playing key roles in spill prevention and response for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers. Print PDF … Continue reading