Incident Responses for March 2022

Posted Fri, 04/15/2022 - 14:04

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 possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment.

This month OR&R responded to 13 incidents in March, including oil discharges, grounded vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.  

Here are some of March's notable incidents:

Containership Grounded off Gibson Island in Chesapeake Bay

On March 15, a containership reportedly grounded off Gibson Island, Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. The Ever Forward grounded outside the main shipping channel, and there was no damage, injuries, or pollution.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Department of the Environment, Evergreen Marine Corporation, in partnership with multiple state and local responders, have developed and announced a revised strategy to refloat the container ship. Removal of the shipping containers and other lightering operations will take place before the ship can be refloated. 

Ensuring the ship’s stability and monitoring for any signs of pollution continue to be top priorities for the Unified Command and responders. NOAA is providing trajectory support for any potential fuel release.

Compromised Fuel Transfer Pipe Spills Oil into Oswego New York Harbor

On March 17, NOAA was notified that a fuel transfer pipe casualty resulted in a #6 fuel release in the Oswego New York Harbor and Lake Ontario. Site investigation and cleanup operations are underway.

Tug Vessel Loses Power, Grounds, and Leaks Diesel in Neva Strait, Sitka, Alaska

On March 21, a tug vessel reportedly lost power in Neva Straits, north of Sitka Sound in Alaska and was forced aground. The Western Mariner had an estimated 43,500 gallons of fuel onboard at the time of the grounding. NOAA provided trajectory and fate analysis for the leaking diesel. 

As of March 29, the vessel was successfully refloated and towed to a commercial dock in Sitka, Alaska. Responders recovered 4,453 gallons of fuel from the damaged tank, and 700 gallons were recovered from skimming operations.

Environmentally sensitive areas identified by local stakeholders to be at risk were surveyed to assess oil impacts. No sheening was observed in areas that were opened to state fisheries or test fishing, as is consistent with the State of Alaska’s zero-tolerance policy with respect to fuel contamination of seafood. The unified command has engaged with the tribes to determine concerns and whether subsistence harvest areas have been impacted due to the incident.

Cleanup operations and response efforts continue.

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