Incident Responses for January 2023

Posted Tue, 02/14/2023 - 15:36

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 January 2023, OR&R responded to 14 new incidents in 10 different states. The new incidents included 11 actual or potential oil spills, one natural gas well, one chemical spill, and one marine debris (tracking a derelict drift net).

Staff prepared 109 new incident reports and documents, including seven fate and trajectory analyses. Cumulatively, these incidents posed an approximate risk of more than 630,000 gallons of oil⁠. (Note: All spill volumes are approximate and based on initial information that may be updated after further investigation.)

Here are some of January’s notable incidents:

Inspected Tow Vessel Sinks in Port of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

On Jan. 3, the U.S. Coast Guard notified NOAA that a towing vessel was reportedly taking on water at the Port of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The ITV Michigan was moored in 24-26 feet of water and a weathered sheen was observed when the vessel response plan was activated. A salvage company went on scene and deployed boom to prevent further impacts from any spilled product. 

The Coast Guard requested NOAA run a trajectory for a worst case discharge of 14,000 gallons of marine diesel fuel. The vessel was successfully refloated and fuel removal efforts concluded on Jan. 11. 

Sheen Report at Summerland Beach in Summerland, California

On Jan. 6, the U.S. Coast Guard requested oil fate information for a sheen report on Summerland Beach, California from earlier in the day. Now an inactive oil field in Santa Barbara County, the area is now among the most active areas of natural oil seeps in the world with many abandoned and decommissioned oil wells from as early as the 1890s. 

The U.S. Coast Guard requested trajectory support to determine the likelihood of shoreline oiling, and a timeline for any potential oiling. Vessels attempted to locate and address skimmable quantities of oil with little success. 

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

A sinking vessel with pollution boom around it.
On Jan. 5, the U.S. Coast Guard notified NOAA that a known derelict tug vessel moored on the Black River in Lorain, Ohio was reported to be actively sheening.