Oil Spill Response Operations

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.

Fishing vessel crews practice response techniques during annual training.

The Oil Spill Response Operations program encompasses monitoring and reporting activities related to the operational readiness of oil spill response personnel, equipment, and organization of the trans-Alaskan pipeline shipping industry. This program monitors oil spill incidents within Prince William Sound and evaluates response readiness. It is also responsible for writing and implementing the council’s Incident Response Plan.

Oil Spill Response Operations Projects

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

Recent Oil Spill Response 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 tech improves knowledge of water circulation in Port Valdez

By Jeremy Robida Council Project Manager This year, the Council completed a multi-year study with the Prince William Sound Science Center to better understand how water circulates within Port Valdez. The study documented seasonal changes to the circulation due to fresh water runoff in spring and summer as well as seasonal wind patterns. The data from this project will help improve oil spill prevention and response planning. Knowing how sea currents and wind affects oil movement on water, as well as the effects on consistency and amount of water mixing into the oil, in turn affects how an oil spill is contained and cleaned up. Print PDF … Continue reading

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Protecting Winter Wildlife from Oil Spills

By Lisa Matlock “What lives here in the winter?” This is a question anyone might ask when visiting Prince William Sound in the off-season. It is also a question recently asked by local organizations in order to better protect these rich waters and their wildlife occupants year-round from oil spills. The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council worked with the Prince William Sound Science Center in 2016 to complete a biological resource inventory of winter species in the Sound. The goal of this project was to develop a detailed bibliography documenting the presence of all wildlife studied in the Sound during the winter since 1989. This project allows this information to be shared with anyone working or visiting the region. The resulting paper also identifies gaps in knowledge regarding the Sound’s winter species to be filled by future researchers. It provides valuable, scientifically accurate information that can be used by the Council and others to identify sensitive biological resources which informs oil spill contingency plans and helps spill responders and spill drill participants better consider winter species when protecting sensitive areas from harm. To see the list of winter species download the final report: Winter Species in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1989-2016   Print PDF … Continue reading

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