Maritime Operations

Tanker and escort in Prince William Sound.

Tanker and one of its two escorts in Prince William Sound.

The Maritime Operations program reviews port organization, operations, incidents, and the adequacy and maintenance of the vessel traffic system.

Major program components include monitoring changes to the escort system, monitoring and studying the ice from Columbia Glacier, reviewing best available technology  for the escort system and the Vessel Emergency Response Plan, participating with the Valdez Marine Safety Committee, and supporting the maintenance of NOAA’s weather stations.

Maritime Operations Projects

Please see links in the sidebar for more information on projects within this program.

Maritime Operations – Recent News:

Oil spill prevention and response services transition to new contractor

Prince William Sound has a hive of activity this summer. On July 1, Alyeska’s marine services contractor transitioned from Crowley Maritime Corporation to Edison Chouest Offshore. This transition means all of the escort tugs and much of the spill prevention and response equipment in Prince William Sound are brand new, or new to the Sound. Demonstrations of the new equipment The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation required that each vessel and crew member demonstrate their capabilities before beginning service. Each tug, as well as each tug’s captain, had to perform a set of maneuvers which differed according to the vessel and its purpose. Print PDF … Continue reading

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Changes to oil spill contingency plans approved

Extensive amendments due to transition The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recently approved major amendments to oil spill contingency plans for both the Valdez Marine Terminal and for the tankers that transport oil through Prince William Sound. Both approvals came with conditions. Neither the tanker plan, nor the terminal plan was due for a renewal. However, Edison Chouest Offshore is bringing so much new equipment and personnel to their new role as Alyeska’s marine services contractor that major changes were needed to both plans. Major amendments require a public comment period. Print PDF … Continue reading

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New vessels and barges on their way to Alaska

ECO is bringing a total of five new escort tugs, four new general purpose tugs, one utility and anchor handling tug, and four response barges to Alaska. As vessels and barges arrive in Prince William Sound, hands-on training and demonstrations with this equipment will start.

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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

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