April 25, 2006
The equipment deployment scheduled for April 27 will take place in Bostwick Inlet, testing and validating one of the Southeast Alaska Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) as part of an ongoing project. It is designed to develop specific tactics for protecting areas considered sensitive by resource agencies, tribal governments, and local residents.
On April 17, an unannounced drill was successfully completed at Ward Cove. The drill simulated a release of diesel fuel requiring the tug crew to conduct immediate response actions. This included the placement of boom around the tug and barge, and using the onboard spill response skimming equipment to remove simulated spilled oil contained within the boom. The command post exercise on April 26 will build off the scenario and drill exercised on April 17.
Participants will include representatives from the Oil Spill Response community and various stakeholders (Coast Guard, ADEC, ADNR, ADFG, SEAPRO, Burrard Clean, Island Tug/Barge, DOI, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force).
The National Preparedness for Response Program includes completion of one of these large scale exercises every three years for Southeast Alaska, alternating between a government-led or an industry-led exercise. It is meant to test the oil spill response community's capability to respond to a significant discharge by a regulated vessel or facility. These drills validate and test the facility/vessel response plans, as well as the Southeast Alaska Sub-area Contingency Plan. This year's exercise will have an international flavor, featuring participants from the Canadian provincial government and Canadian Oil spill Co-op.
Island Tug and Barge, a Canadian company with operations in Southeast Alaska supplying fuel from Vancouver to Whitehorse through the Port of Skagway volunteered as the industry lead and overall drill sponsor for the exercise, demonstrating their cooperative environmental and spill response initiative.
Objectives for the exercise include:
Response Activation - Testing
communications links and protocols for spill response activation
starting with the Response Plan holder's vessel to the plan holder,
government agencies, oil spill response organizations and others
involved with the oil spill response and recovery.
On-water Response Operations and Coordination - Test ability to communicate and coordinate the activities of various on-site responders during on-water physical equipment deployment.
Sensitive Areas/Resource Protection - Identification and protection of critical sensitive areas and wildlife. Evaluate timely identification and agreement of effective "Places of Refuge" addressing the environmental, social, logistical and political considerations prevalent in such an environmentally sensitive environment as Southeast Alaska.
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