Spring is an exciting time as Alaska emerges from winter energized and ready for more light and activities. After the last year, this feels more important than ever. As you know, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS, never stopped delivering for Alaska through the challenges of the pandemic. Our operations continued reliably, but I recognize for many, there are welcome changes ahead. As we head into the warmer season, I would like to share a few recent highlights.
Live fire training
In my last update, I talked about Tower 1, a multi-purpose $1.7M fire apparatus truck equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and the innovation Alyeska brought on board to enhance response capabilities and keep our people safe. In February, I was able to see the Valdez Marine Terminal fire brigade in action when I participated in live fire training in Texas. Each year, fire brigade members hone their skills at this important opportunity for hands-on action with fire in a tightly controlled setting. Seeing their leadership and expertise up close was incredibly impressive. Even as a volunteer brigade member, working alongside this group of energetic professionals increased my confidence and feeling of safety.
Vessel of Opportunity training
The pandemic required nimble changes, resilience, and creativity from all. One Alyeska program that required special attention was the Vessel of Opportunity program. To keep communities, crews, and our personnel safe, we did not provide the standard three-day training. We were able to provide 8-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER, training online, and more than 1300 crewmembers completed the training before the end of the year. SERVS also conducted more than 16 on-water deployments and utilized more than 80 vessels of opportunity.
This year, I am pleased to report we will be holding Vessel of Opportunity training in person, with some changes to ensure the health of those involved. Alyeska will continue to offer online HAZWOPER training as well as distance learning opportunities, to be completed before crews undertake two days of hands-on, on-water training. This plan will reduce classroom time and allows additional flexibility for on-water weather days and make scheduling more convenient for vessel owners and crewmembers. Our entire team is looking forward to continuing this enduring and important partnership.
As Alaska and the rest of the country ramps up vaccination efforts, Alyeska is recognized by the State of Alaska as an enrolled provider. This allows Alyeska to order, handle, store, and administer vaccines. Alyeska receives its vaccines in Fairbanks, and from that central location, can ship vaccines up and down the line and to Anchorage. Alyeska’s Occupational Health Unit team is months into deploying COVID-19 vaccines across TAPS, following state criteria for prioritization. As a result, I am proud to say that approximately 700 employees and contractors across the state have started the vaccination process. In the coming months, we will continue to do our part by making vaccinations accessible to our employees, not only to protect TAPS team members and their families, but to protect the state and the communities where we operate.
In the months ahead, I am particularly looking forward to spending a significant amount of time in the communities where we operate, and I look forward to collaborating on our shared mission of safely delivering Alaskan oil to market.