Community Corner: A tour of the crown jewel of local oil spill response

By Lisa Matlock Outreach Coordinator I was a Homer resident for five years. Each spring I watched a fleet of fishing boats carrying noisy, funny-looking machines and pulling long orange and yellow lines around in circles near the Spit. I can remember asking, “What are they doing out there?” The answer was always, “Oh, that’s just SERVS training.” I never learned more than that until my first year with the council when I had the opportunity to observe that training personally. For two days, I participated in classroom training with a group of fishermen and other mariners about spill safety, oil spill tactics, wildlife protection, and Geographic Response Strategies for sensitive areas. I learned about different types of hydraulic power packs, skimmers, and oil containment boom. … Continue reading

Oil spill response training focuses on nearshore and sensitive area protection

By JEREMY ROBIDA Council Project Manager On March 15 and 16, Alyeska’s Ship Escort Response Vessel System, known as SERVS, conducted an oil spill response training in Cordova. A total of 27 vessels were involved, including Cordova-based vessels, three Valdez fishing vessels, the nearshore support barge known as the “500-2,” and its accompanying tug. Many of the vessels spent the night on scene as part of the training, with exercise activities taking place during daylight hours in Nelson Bay, a small, protected bay approximately five miles from Cordova. … Continue reading

Intern helps council develop suggestions to improve fishing vessel program

By ZACHARY VERFAILLIE Council Intern As an Emergency Management major at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, I was excited for the opportunity to work in Valdez as an intern with the council. The project I was given involved using the Fishing Vessel Availability reports from Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, known as SERVS, to determine which vessels were available to respond in the unfortunate event of an oil spill in Prince William Sound. … Continue reading

Oil spill response in Sound depends on trained fishing vessel crews

In Prince William Sound, fishing vessel crews are trained to help clean up oil spills. These trained responders are familiar with local waters, and can respond quickly to a spill. Alyeska’s Ship Escort Response Vessel System, or SERVS, oversees the program. SERVS contracts vessels throughout Prince William Sound and downstream areas such as Kodiak, Seward, Homer, Kenai and other smaller communities as part of the program. There are over 400 vessels and their associated crews on contract. The vessels’ crews attend three days of training each year, including classroom lectures, hands-on experience with equipment, and on-water exercises.                 … Continue reading