Incident Responses for August 2020

Posted Mon, 09/14/2020 - 17:58
An explosion with water spraying at the fire.
On Aug. 21, 2020, an explosion and fire and fire reportedly broke out in Corpus Christi Inner Harbor after a dredger hit an underwater pipeline. The dredger reportedly contained a potential of 8,000 gallons of diesel and an unknown amount of hydraulic fluid. The fire was extinguished and no sheen was observed in the water. NOAA provided support on response options, air plume modeling, trajectory, and resources at risk in the event of release. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

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 31 incidents, including oil discharges, grounded vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.  

Here are some of August's notable incidents:

Fishing Vessel Runs Aground Near Kodiak Island, Alaska

On Aug. 1, a fishing vessel ran aground in Whale Passage near Kodiak Island, Alaska due to an equipment failure that led to loss of power and steerage. The Pacific Jade had 500 gallons of diesel onboard. 

NOAA’s assistance was requested to review the response plans to lighter the fuel. The fuel was removed and the vessel was transported back to Kodiak Harbor without any additional incidents. 

Mystery Sheen in Buffalo River, New York

On Aug. 14, NOAA received a report of a mystery sheen and product release coming from a storm outfall in Buffalo, New York. The product was contained with pollution boom. NOAA provided a spot forecast and a resources at risk report. 

The sheen was later discovered to be the result of oil seeping from the ground and not the storm outfall. The length of time and the amount of oil release are both unknown. Responders continue to work on cleanup operations. 

Fishing Vessel Runs Aground in Sitka Sound, Alaska

On Aug. 29, a fishing vessel ran aground on Kulichkof Rock in Sitka Sound, Alaska. The SAAMI was abandoned and then caught fire. It was carrying approximately 500 gallons of diesel at the time of the grounding. NOAA provided a fate and trajectory analysis for any fuel released.  

Barge Grounded near Ekuk, Alaska

On Aug. 31, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage was notified of a potential release of diesel fuel into Nushagak Bay from a grounded barge near Ekuk, Alaska. The vessel went aground due to a broken anchor chain in bad weather. 

The barge had 5,000 gallons of diesel onboard at the time of the incident. The barge was reportedly blown ashore during a high wind event. The upper decks were severely damaged by wind. There is no sign of any fuel release at this time. 

Oil in water with pollution boom around it.
On Aug. 21, 2020, 3 barrels (126 gallons) of oil reportedly discharged from a Hilcorp platform in Southwest Pass near Venice, Louisiana. The discharge was secured and containment boom was deployed to contain the oil within the area surrounding the facility. No shoreline impacts or oiled wildlife were observed. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

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