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. … Continue reading

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