Incident Responses for October 2022

Posted Tue, 11/15/2022 - 18:41
An oil sheen in water.
On Oct. 25, the U.S. Coast Guard contacted the NOAA regarding an inconsistent mystery sheen reported in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Image credit: U.S. Coat Guard.

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 121 incidents. In October 2022, OR&R provided response support to 19 incidents, including seven new incidents in seven different states. 

The new incidents were five actual or potential oil spills, one industrial fire and chemical spill at a paper mill in Wisconsin, and one incident in Rhode Island that involved a fishing vessel catching unexploded ordnance in its trawl gear.

Staff prepared 43 new incident reports and documents, including four fate and trajectory analyses. Cumulatively, these incidents posed an approximate risk of more than 30,000 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 October's notable incidents: 

Trajectory Support Provided for Spill from Sunken Fishing Vessel near San Pedro, California

On Oct. 24, the Coast Guard contacted NOAA to request trajectory support for a 70-foot wood fishing vessel that reportedly sank within the Port of Los Angeles near San Pedro, California. The fishing vessel Bill Ketner had partially sunk with a maximum potential spill volume of 2,500 gallons of diesel. A sheen was observed near the vessel and responders placed boom to contain the impacts. 

The federal on-scene coordinator approved the use of funds from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to contract response and cleanup efforts. The vessel was raised, the fuel on board was removed, the recoverable discharged product was cleaned up. The cleanup efforts concluded the following week.

Towing Vessel Sinks at its Moorings near Pine Bluff, Arkansas

A towing vessel reportedly sank at its moorings near Pine Bluff, Arkansas on Oct. 24. The towing vessel Sandstone was completely submerged and was carrying an estimated 500 gallons of diesel and 30 gallons of lube oils at the time of the incident, according to the responsible party.
Oil spill cleanup contractors contained the spill using hard pollution boom and absorbent materials were used for oil collection. Two days later, divers found that the vessel was partially suspended and upside down. Divers could not secure the fuel vents as any activity underneath the suspended vessel would be too hazardous. NOAA provided remote support for resources at risk and consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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