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:

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

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Marine Firefighting Symposium coming to Homer in May 2017

Update 2/9/17: Registration is now open! See Marine Firefighting Symposium 2017 for more. The ninth Marine Firefighting Symposium for Land-Based Firefighters is scheduled for May 12-14, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. The council is co-hosting this event with our sister organization, the Cook Inlet Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council. This three-day conference is an industry recognized effort to provide the best available marine firefighting information and practices to shore-based firefighters, using both classroom and field experiences. The council is pleased to have its nationally renowned training cadre of John Lewis, John Taylor, Don Ryan and Ron Raschio, led by Jeff Johnson, returning to the Symposium. Several of these instructors provided input and material for the land-based shipboard firefighting manual produced by the International Fire Service Training Association. Firefighters and industry participants consistently provide positive comments on the events. The council is able to offer this training at no cost for participants. More information: Marine Firefighting Symposium 2017 Print PDF … Continue reading

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Vessel construction, planning underway for Crowley to Edison Chouest transition

Council conducting independent review of vessel designs By July of 2018, Edison Chouest Offshore, or ECO, of Louisiana will be the marine services contractor for oil tankers and the terminal in Prince William Sound. Until then, Alyeska and ECO will be working with Crowley Maritime, the contractor who currently provides those services, on a smooth transition between the two contractors. These services 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 Prince William Sound. For instance, two state-of-the-art escort tugs accompany every laden tanker that leaves Port Valdez. One tug is tethered through the confined waterway called the Valdez Narrows, and one tug stands by at Hinchinbrook Entrance until the tanker is 17 miles into the Gulf of Alaska. The primary responsibility of these escort tugs is to rescue or “save” a tanker that may experience problems and prevent oil from spilling, and initiate response efforts should these prevention measures fail. Print PDF … Continue reading

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Conference focuses on best practices in towing rope technology

By Alan Sorum Council project manager A recent conference on rope design hosted by Samson Rope, a leading producer of high performance towing rope, shared best practices for towing that may be applicable in Prince William Sound. Founded in Boston in 1878, Samson is the world’s largest producer of ropes made with “Dyneema,” an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber. The company manufactures ropes of traditional fibers, like nylon and polyester. Samson provided the emergency towing equipment for the last two foreign-flagged tankers that called on the Valdez Marine Terminal. The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency tasked with improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships, requires tankers to carry an emergency towing package on their stern. In addition to this equipment, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requires what is known as the “Prince William Sound Tow Package” to be carried on the bow of every tanker. This towing package consists of a messenger line, towline, buoy, and heavy-duty shackle that can be quickly deployed in an emergency. Print PDF … Continue reading

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