Human error, severe weather, complex geography, mechanical failure - any of these can contribute to an emergency involving a laden oil tanker in Prince William Sound. A disabled tanker requires immediate action. Prince William Sound is home to a world-class tanker escort system, which provides a variety of emergency and spill prevention services such as iceberg detection, tanker rescues, immediate spill response, and more.
What is the escort system?In Prince William Sound, two high-powered, state-of-the-art tugs accompany every oil-laden tanker travelling through the Sound and out to the Gulf of Alaska. The heart of the oil-spill prevention system in the Sound is the fleet of escort vessels operated by Alyeska's Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, commonly referred to as "SERVS." Thanks to years of study and analysis, and considerable investment by the shipping industry, this system is widely considered the best in the world.
Find out more about Prince William Sound’s tanker escort zones and the requirements for the varying geographical areas.The purpose of this system is to have escorts in place to:
- Monitor conditions
- Alert the tanker of problems before they occur
- Assist a disabled tanker as quickly as possible
- Start the cleanup in the event of a spill