When asked what oil looks like, most people would probably describe it similar to molasses — black, and somewhat viscous in appearance. But did you know, crude oils can come in a range of colors? From black to red to yellow, oil can appear in a number of different colors and consistencies. This can make it especially hard to find and identify oil from the air.
As a NOAA scientific support coordinator for Alaska with OR&R’s Emergency Response Division, Catherine Berg is used to the pollution removal process following an oil or chemical spill. But soon after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, Catherine learned that her response skills would soon be needed to address the thousands of abandoned and derelict vessels scattered on or near the coast, many a potential source of marine pollution, as fuel and other chemicals made their way into the marine environment.
An abandoned or derelict vessel (ADV) can be a pollution risk, and depending on the size of the vessel, could result in a pretty massive spill of oil, chemicals, or other hazardous materials. But even without a spill, the vessel itself can damage the environment.
When thinking about marine debris, you may picture trash in the ocean — plastic bottles, food wrappers, bags, and other everyday and single-use items that we come into contact with in our everyday life. However, the marine debris problem is much bigger than just our trash, especially when it comes to abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs).
By Robin Garcia, Coral Reef Conservation Program, and Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration
In December 1991, Tropical Cyclone Val struck American Samoa. It was the worst cyclone to impact the Samoan Islands since the Apia cyclone of 1889. Among the devastation caused, nine fishing vessels were grounded on the coral reef in Pago Pago Harbor on Tutuila Island, the largest and most populated island in American Samoa. About 1,500 gallons of oil was released into the harbor during the grounding incident.
By Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration
During National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24), NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration is taking a closer look at the anatomy of abandoned and derelict vessels. In this first blog, take a peek at some of the hidden hazards of a sunken vessel.
By Alyssa Dillon, Office of Response and Restoration
This feature is part of a monthly series profiling scientists and technicians who provide exemplary contributions to the mission of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R). This month’s featured scientist is Sherry Lippiatt, the California regional coordinator for OR&R’s Marine Debris Program.
By Charlie Henry, Office of Response and Restoration
“When is hurricane season?”
That question was posed by Ernesto Morales with the NOAA Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico at a recent preparedness workshop. Officially, the Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from the first day of June through the last day of November each year – but Ernesto wasn’t looking for the official response.
Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries, and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment.
This month OR&R responded to 15 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and two gray whale carcasses.
MAY 2, 2019 — On this day, one year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its counterpart in the north, Environment and Climate Change Canada, worked together to create the North American Satellite Tracking of Pollution (NASTOP) Program to bolster our shared capacity to respond to marine pollution events.