Incident Responses for April 2019

Posted Tue, 05/07/2019 - 15:49

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.  

Here are some of April’s notable incidents:

Vessel Grounded in Missouri River near Saline City, Missouri

On April 14, OR&R was notified of a reported grounding at mile marker 217.1 on the Missouri River near Saline City, Missouri. The ITV Buckles ran hard aground on April 13 and was carrying 8,000 gallons of diesel at the time of the incident. No discharge was reported. The U.S. Coast Guard requested OR&R run a trajectory assessment for the worst case discharge and the resources at risk in the area.

Unknown Sheen Reported off the Coast of Louisiana

On April 22, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans called OR&R about an unknown sheen in West Delta Block, 79A. The sheen was approximately 4 nautical miles long and 50 feet wide. The  majority of the sheen was slightly covered, with 40 percent either silvery or barely visible.

The U.S. Coast Guard requested a fate and trajectory, as well as 72 hours of monitoring through NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.

The responsible party, Fieldwood Energy, confirmed that the source of the leak in the West Delta, Block 79A, had been secured and was no longer leaking.

Oil Discharges from Abandoned Barge in Womens Bay, Alaska

On April 25, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Kodiak, Alaska received a report of a rainbow sheen emanating from a grounded, abandoned barge on Kodiak Island in Womens Bay.

The Coast Guard stated in a press release that $150,000 from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was used to hire a salvage company, assess the situation, and help mitigate the pollution threat. Containment boom was placed around the barge before contractors began pumping product from the barge on Saturday, April 27.

"Our job is to ensure the potential for pollution in this situation is mitigated," said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Emily Clore in the release. "The sheening so far is relatively light, and seems to be discharging intermittently, at a slow rate. But protecting the pristine maritime environment surrounding Kodiak Island is our top priority here."

Here is the complete list of last month’s incidents, click on the links to find out more:

A dead whale caught against a barrier in the water.
On April 29, 2019, the National Marine Fisheries Service Stranding Network coordinator contacted OR&R regarding a gray whale carcass that had washed ashore at the Port of Los Angeles. NMFS requested OR&R provide a carcass drift estimate. Image credit: NOAA.