Oil Spill Prevention and Response

The State of Alaska’s regulatory role in oil spill prevention and response

After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the state of Alaska passed laws that required stringent new prevention and response measures, often stronger than federal requirements.  These new laws were instrumental in formation of the fishing vessel program for oil-spill response and geographic response strategies, among other things.

Training Program for fishing vessel responders

This is an approved and exportable “training program in a suitcase” for crews of fishing vessels participating in Alyeska Pipeline’s Fishing Vessel Program for responding to oil spills in Prince William Sound. The course provides training on the fate of oil, general safety and health, boating safety, incident command system, and oil spill response strategies.

The “Buster” oil-skimming systems

One of the main components of Alyeska’s fishing vessel response system is the “Buster” skimming system series. It operates at much higher skimming speeds than traditional boom systems.

Nearshore Response

The above letter discusses options for nearshore response resulting from lessons learned after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The above portion of the STAR manual describes oil spill response strategies using fishing vessels for nearshore oil recovery. Photos of fishing vessel with vacuum truck aboard during the ‘89 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

The fishing vessel Defiance towing boom and sucking up oil with a sewage vacuum truck aboard in 1989, Northwest Bay, Knight Island, Prince William Sound.

Fishing vessel Defiance with sewage vacuum truck sucking oil

Closeup picture of the fishing vessel Defiance in 1989 with sewage vacuum truck aboard. Tom Copeland reported, “We tightened up the boom by pulling the rear boom forward past the forward boom end. You can see the sucker hose down in the oil that is inches thick.”

Water Quality Sampling Methods and Procedures

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s website includes a water quality sampling methods and procedures manual that explains how to do water quality sampling and assessment of potential contamination of commercial fishery resources and gear  during an oil spill.

University of Alaska Fairbanks’s School of Fisheries and Oceans Science

UAF has set up a page on their website with resources for the Gulf Of Mexico oil spill.  The page includes a link to a legal research report titled:  Recommendations for an Improved Oil Spill Prevention Regulatory System.

National Response Team’s “Guidance for Managing Worker Fatigue During Disaster Operations”

From the National Response Team’s website:  “This Technical Assistance Document (TAD) the first of two documents created by the National Response Team (NRT) to address worker fatigue during large-scale disaster operations, such as those following the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9-11 attacks, anthrax contamination, the Columbia Space Shuttle Recovery, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. This document is intended to serve as a hands-on manual to assist organizations with the development of programs and plans to address fatigue issues among disaster workers.” From the National Response Team’s website.