Incident Responses for February 2023

Posted Thu, 03/23/2023 - 20:52

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.

In February 2023, ERD responded to 13 new incidents in nine different states, one territory (Guam) and one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands (Johnston Atoll, located 750 nautical miles (1,390 km; 860 mi) southwest of the island of Hawaiʻi).

The new incidents were 10 actual or potential oil spills, one chemical spill, one debris modeling request, and one SAR (search and rescue).

Staff prepared 90 new incident reports and documents, including five fate and trajectory analyses. Cumulatively, these incidents posed an approximate risk of more than 5,000 gallons of oil⁠.

Here are some of February’s notable incidents:

Spill of Red-Dye Diesel from Derailed Train, Newport, Oregon

Pollution boom and oil sorbent in water.
Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

On Feb. 10, a train derailed near Toledo, Oregon. The locomotive’s tank was reportedly punctured and released an estimated 2,000 gallons of red dye diesel onto the soil and train tracks. The oil drained into a nearby catch basin and a sheen was later reported on the Yaquina River. 

Responders deployed pollution boom and absorbent boom around the area to prevent further impacts. Contractors excavated the polluted soil as part of the cleanup efforts.

Tug Aground near Ferry Terminal, Lopez Island, Washington

On Feb. 22., the U.S. Coast Guard notified NOAA that a vessel had reportedly run aground near the Lopez Island Ferry Terminal in the San Juan Islands in Washington. The Tug Tulalip has a potential spill volume of approximately 400 gallons of diesel. The Coast Guard asked NOAA to provide a report on the resources at risk in the area and a local weather forecast. 

Contractors lifted the tug vessel from the water the day of the sinking. The vessel was recovered with most of the 400 gallons of diesel still on board. A visible sheen, thought to be bilge residue, was the only oil observed at the scene.

Here is the complete list of February's incidents, click on the links to find out more: