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:

Whittier community engages with on-water oil spill response training

The Council held its fourth annual fishing vessel oil spill response training tour in Whittier, Alaska, on September 25, 2018. The Whittier community was invited to join the council from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., on a Stan Stephens Cruises vessel to observe the training. Over 60 members of the public participated in the event, including 25 students from Whittier Community School. Whittier student Abi, 16, stated about the event, “It matters because it keeps our oceans clean and helps keep people knowledgeable about how to respond to the spills. I might want to do it when I get old enough.” The local fishermen participating in the training are contracted by the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, also known as SERVS, to respond in the event of a Prince William Sound tanker or Valdez Marine Terminal oil spill. SERVS is Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s oil spill response organization and coordinates annual oil spill response exercises in multiple Southcentral Alaska communities, including Whittier. Print PDF … Continue reading

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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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