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 other pollution-related incidents.
Here are some of February's notable incidents:
On Feb. 1, an estimated 630 gallons of dark crude oil was reportedly discharged into Tabbs Bay northeast of the Texas Ship Channel near Baytown, Texas. The source of the discharge was unknown, but believed to be either an active or abandoned pipeline well.
Divers identified the source of the discharge as an out-of-service wellhead with a well cover that was not secure. An enclosure known as a cofferdam was placed around the source to provide containment until a permanent well abatement solution can be implemented. The Coast Guard requested NOAA provide a trajectory for the discharged oil.
According to a Coast Guard press release, approximately four miles of shoreline were impacted and 11,760 gallons of oily-water mixture was collected using vacuum trucks and a floating drum skimmer. As of the Feb. 5 press release, 6,400 feet of containment boom and 12,500 feet of absorbent boom had been deployed and six workboats on site continued to collect the soiled boom and deploy new boom.
Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams conducted 4.5 miles of shoreline assessment to determine possible shoreline and wildlife impacts. The cause of the well failure remains under investigation.
On Feb. 11, a mystery spill of red dyed diesel fuel was reported at the Venice Marine in Venice, Louisiana. An unknown quantity of the red dyed diesel and white foam was present between boat slips in an area of less than 2,500 square feet. Red-dyed diesel is the same as regular diesel fuel oil , but in the United States, off-road fuel (including farm equipment and boats) is treated with a red dye to denote that the fuel is not subject to road taxes.
The U.S. Coast Guard went on scene to collect information and attempt to identify the source. Three dead pelicans were found on site. NOAA provided on scene support for the incident.
On Feb. 20, a 44-foot recreational vessel reportedly sank while moored at the Skyline Marina in Anacortes, Washington. The SEA WOLF has a tank capacity of 500 gallons of oil, but is believed to have been carrying only 250 gallons at the time it sank.
Light sheening was visible near the vessel. Divers worked to plug the fuel vents and remove the remaining fuel on board. No impacts to wildlife were observed.
Here is the complete list of last month’s incidents, click on the links to find out more:
- Tabbs Bay Discharge, Baytown, TX
- GARROW BEND Sunken Tug
- Grounded Vessel, Hilo, Hawaii
- Mystery Oil Slick Viosca Knoll Block 989
- Gaubert Oil Diesel Spill
- Small plane crash
- Fishing Vessel Aground on Shackleford Banks, NC
- Lost dredge Hose
- Diesel Spill - Unknown Source
- Mystery Red Dyed Diesel Spill Venice Marina
- North Santiam River - Truck Spill
- Recreational vessel sunk in Anacortes Skyline Marina
- Gray whale carcass
- Partially Submerged Recreational Vessel Huron Harbor Marina
- Whitney Tank Battery 160 Loomis Pass Spill