Annual Report now available

Front cover of the report. Image is of a rocky beach in Prince William Sound covered with mussels and other tidal critters. Mountains and ocean in the background. Clicking on the image will download a PDF of the report.The Council’s annual report, Year in Review 2022/2023, is now available. This report covers the many programs and projects we’ve been working on over the past year, such as oil spill prevention and response, environmental monitoring, oil spill contingency plans, operations at the Valdez Marine Terminal, invasive species monitoring, our outreach efforts, and much more. Highlights from this year include:

  • An assessment of risks and safety culture at the Valdez Marine Terminal
  • Ensuring the adequacy of secondary containment liners for the terminal’s crude oil storage tanks
  • Supporting solutions for sustainable funding for state spill
    prevention and response
  • Improvements to how the Council monitors weather and sea currents in our region
  • Monitoring oil spill drills and exercises
  • Reexamining the Council’s position on use of dispersants in our region

Download: 2022-2023 Annual Report

Lessons from Exxon Valdez oil spill

On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a charted rock, Bligh Reef, in Prince William Sound. An estimated 11 million gallons (257,000 barrels) of Alaska North Slope crude oil spilled into the remote, pristine, resource-laden environment, less than 30 miles from Valdez. The oil fouled approximately 1,300 miles of wildlife-abundant shoreline.

Alaskans worked hard to make changes and develop a better system. One of these changes, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, works every day to make sure this type of disaster never happens again.

Here are a few of the lessons we’ve documented:

Photo of oil from 1989 Exxon Valdez spill on Eleanor Island. Photo taken July 25, 2018. Photo by Dave Janka.
Exxon Valdez oil lingers on Eleanor Island in Prince William Sound. Photo taken July 25, 2018 by Dave Janka.
  1. Be prepared. Contingency plans must be in place ahead of time to quickly and effectively respond to an oil spill. More about Alaska’s plans: Contingency Plans
  2. Train responders before a spill: Proper training is essential for an effective response in an emergency situation. More about how local Alaskans are trained to protect their waters: Fishing Vessel Oil Spill Response Training
  3. Maintain best available technology: Constantly improving technology for detecting and responding to oil spills, including better communication systems, and improves cleanup and containment systems. More: Council research fills gap in knowledge about line-throwing technology
  4. Maintain strong regulations: Strong regulatory oversight ensures that everyone follows best practices for oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup. More: How Alaskans redefined oil spill prevention and response
  5. Involve the public: The Exxon Valdez oil spill showed the importance of involving the public in decision-making processes related to oil spill prevention, response, and cleanup. More: An innovative solution – regional citizens’ advisory councils
  6. Prevent spills from happening: One of the biggest lessons is that preventing a spill in the first place is the best way to protect the environment. No spill can ever be completely cleaned up. Oil from the Exxon Valdez spill can still be found in some locations in Prince William Sound. More: Lingering oil (EVOSTC website)

Study shows purpose-driven design can improve performance

When a ship is disabled at sea, an appropriate rescue vessel must respond quickly to prevent an accident. Towing can be dangerous, especially in rough weather, because the rescue tug must get close to connect a towline.

Challenging environment in Alaska

Map showing the tanker traffic lane. The tankers must pass through a relatively narrow area between Hinchinbrook and Montague Islands when entering or leaving Prince William Sound to or from the Gulf of Alaska. A rescue tug with the right features has the best chance of preventing a spill.
Alaska requires a tug stationed in the vicinity of Hinchinbrook Entrance, the narrow waterway which connects Prince William Sound to the Gulf of Alaska. The tug remains on standby to assist or escort tankers through the entrance and out into the Gulf of Alaska.

Hinchinbrook Entrance is a narrow waterway that connects Prince William Sound to the Gulf of Alaska. The weather and sailing conditions in the gulf can change rapidly and are often severe.

Tankers carrying millions of gallons of oil regularly pass through the Entrance. Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System must have a tug stationed at the Entrance when laden tankers travel through Prince William Sound.

Read more

Skip to content