Incident Responses for March 2023

Posted Wed, 04/19/2023 - 13:44

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 46 incidents. In March 2023, OR&R provided response support to 27 incidents, including 18 new incidents in 10 different states and one foreign country—the Philippines. 

The new incidents were 13 actual or potential oil spills and three chemical spills, one mystery substance, and one unexploded ordnance (UXO). 

Staff prepared 204 new incident reports and documents, including 10 fate and trajectory analyses. Cumulatively, these incidents posed an approximate risk of more than 250,000 gallons of oil⁠ and 3,900 tons of various chemicals. (Note: All spill volumes are approximate and based on initial information that may be updated after further investigation.)

Here are some of March’s notable incidents:

Fishing Vessel Catches Fire in Westport Marina, Washington

On March 9, the U.S. Coast Guard notified NOAA that a commercial fishing vessel was on fire at the Westport Marina in Washington. The 85-foot vessel had a potential spill volume of 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel, and additional hydraulic and engine oils on board. 

The fish was successfully removed from the vessel and the vessel was towed a short distance back to its slip in the marina. The hull was inspected and the vessel was stable.

Sheen Spotted at High Island Beach in Bolivar Peninsula, Texas

On March 13,  an unknown sheen at High Island Beach was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Incident Management Division responded and found a leaking pipe was producing the sheen. Discharge appeared to be natural gas condensate from an old well, which was partially plugged and abandoned. Attempts to stop the discharge have been unsuccessful, as the pipe had deteriorated. NOAA provided trajectory support and a report on the resources at risk in the area. Responders continue to use sorbent and pollution boom to prevent further impacts. 

BNSF Train Derails Near Swinomish Channel in Anacortes, Washington

On March 16, the Environmental Protection Agency notified NOAA that a BNSF train derailed near the Swinomish Channel in Anacortes, Washington. The train was carrying approximately 7,000 gallons of diesel and about 2,000 gallons were thought to have spilled on the soil. 

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