In Prince William Sound, fishing vessel crews are trained to help clean up oil spills. These trained responders are familiar with local waters, and can respond quickly to a spill.
Alyeska’s Ship Escort Response Vessel System, or SERVS, oversees the program. SERVS contracts vessels throughout Prince William Sound and downstream areas such as Kodiak, Seward, Homer, Kenai and other smaller communities as part of the program. There are over 400 vessels and their associated crews on contract.
The vessels’ crews attend three days of training each year, including classroom lectures, hands-on experience with equipment, and on-water exercises.
Fishing vessel crews learn to set up and run a small brush skimmer during this year’s Spring training in Cordova. Photo by Serena Lopez.
Participants help recover boom during this year’s training in Seward. Photo by Jeremy Robida.
An instructor teaches vessel crews about the tanker oil spill contingency plan during the Cordova training last Spring. Photo by Serena Lopez.
Crews spend one day on the water practicing response techniques. Here, two fishing vessels practice pulling a “buster” oil spill boom system during the Valdez training. SERVS’ spill response toolbox contains different boom systems for different conditions. The buster is the newest generation of boom systems, While it has its own limitations, the buster can be towed faster, better handle rougher water, and collect and hold recovered oil better compared to more traditional booms. Photo by Jeremy Robida.
The buster, shown here during the Valdez training, has a collection area at the rear and a skimmer can be set inside to recover oil and oily water. Photo by Jeremy Robida.
Close-up of a weir skimmer in the collection area of the buster system. Photo by Jeremy Robida.
Small temporary storage barges, known as mini-barges, are used to hold the oil and oily water mix that would be offloaded to larger tank barges. The main support barge for nearshore recovery operation, known as the “500-2,” has 12 such mini barges on board. The 500-2 is shown here setting one into the water during the Valdez training. Photo by Jeremy Robida.
Three boats are shown here in a typical oil recovery formation during the Valdez training. The farthest pictured vessels are pulling the buster system forward. The outstretched legs of the buster collect the oil and direct it into the collection area. The closest vessel manages the skimmer and the transfer of product into the mini barge, tied alongside. Photo by Jeremy Robida.