Every month, OR&R’s 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 identifying possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment. We also get requests to track and model other floating objects.
So far this year, OR&R has provided support to 114 incidents. In August, OR&R provided response support to 26 incidents, including 13 new incidents in seven states and one foreign country (Cuba).
The new incidents were 10 actual or potential oil spills and one harmful algal bloom in the San Francisco Bay region. The Cuban incident was a significant fire at a crude oil terminal that resulted in a U.S. National Response Team activation in case the incident resulted in a large marine spill.
Staff prepared 443 new incident reports and documents, including 12 fate and trajectory analyses. Cumulatively, these incidents posed an approximate risk of more than 30,000 gallons of oil. (Note: Spill volumes are approximate and based on initial information that may be updated after further investigation.)
Here are some of August's notable incidents:
Oil Platform Collapses, Two Storage Tanks Compromised in Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana
On Aug. 8, the pilings on Hilcorp Energy platform #2 in Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana gave way causing part of the platform to collapse. Two oil storage tanks were compromised. The Coast Guard requested NOAA provide a trajectory and a report on the natural resources at risk in the area.
The source of the estimated 13,944 gallons of oil discharge was secured. An overflight later showed no remaining recoverable oil within the area, with the remaining product expected to dissipate naturally over the next few days. NOAA participated in Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique surveys and did not see any further sheening.
Fishing Vessel Sunk off San Juan Island, Washington
On Aug. 13, a commercial fishing vessel sank, resulting in a diesel fuel spill 300 yards west of San Juan Island, Washington. The F/V Aleutian Isle was reported to have approximately 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricant oil aboard.
After the vessel sank, responders observed a sheen spanning about three miles that reportedly entered Canadian waters. NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration is providing trajectory assistance for the spilled oil, as well as facilitating Endangered Species Act consultation with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service for Southern Resident killer whales that are at risk in the area.
OR&R is also supporting ongoing efforts to recover the purse seine net from the sunken vessel, and ensuring the safety of water intakes in the region.
Here is the complete list of August’s incidents, click on the links to find out more:
- 58-foot Fishing Vessel Sunk, Southern Point of Prince of Wales Island, AK
- Container Ship Leaking SHC Lubricating Oil En Route to Anchorage, AK
- Oil Platform Collapse, with Two Storage Tanks Compromised, Terrebonne Bay, LA
- Above-ground Tanks on Fire at Crude Oil Storage Facility, Matanzas, Cuba
- Suspected Discharges Occurring in Espiritu Santo Bay, TX
- Spill from Container Vessel, South Side of Dodge Island, Miami, FL
- Fishing Vessel Sunk off San Juan Island, WA
- Spill of Soybean Oil into Grand River, Painesville, OH
- Sunken pleasure craft, Whites Landing, Santa Catalina Island, CA
- Leaking Flow Line Discharge of Crude Oil into Tabbs Bay, Baytown, TX
- Fishing Vessel Aground, Grays Harbor Jetty, Westport, WA
- Discharge of Natural Gas Condensate from Repaired Line, West Cameron Block 498, Offshore Texas
- "Red Tide" algae bloom, San Francisco Bay, CA