Vessels and Corals: A Tale in American Samoa

Posted Mon, 05/20/2019 - 17:48
By Robin Garcia, Coral Reef Conservation Program, and Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration

In December 1991, Tropical Cyclone Val struck American Samoa. It was the worst cyclone to impact the Samoan Islands since the Apia cyclone of 1889. Among the devastation caused, nine fishing vessels were grounded on the coral reef in Pago Pago Harbor on Tutuila Island, the largest and most populated island in American Samoa. About 1,500 gallons of oil was released into the harbor during the grounding incident.

Minds Behind OR&R: Meet California’s Marine Debris Regional Coordinator Sherry Lippiatt

Posted Tue, 05/14/2019 - 15:14
By Alyssa Dillon, Office of Response and Restoration

This feature is part of a monthly series profiling scientists and technicians who provide exemplary contributions to the mission of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R). This month’s featured scientist is Sherry Lippiatt, the California regional coordinator for OR&R’s Marine Debris Program.

When is the Atlantic Hurricane Season?

Posted Fri, 05/10/2019 - 15:27
By Charlie Henry, Office of Response and Restoration

“When is hurricane season?”

That question was posed by Ernesto Morales with the NOAA Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico at a recent preparedness workshop. Officially, the Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from the first day of June through the last day of November each year – but Ernesto wasn’t looking for the official response.

Incident Responses for April 2019 alyssa.dillon Tue, 05/07/2019 - 15:49

Every month our 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 15 incidents, including oil discharges, sunken vessels, and two gray whale carcasses.

The North American Satellite Tracking of Pollution (NASTOP) Program: A Canada-U.S. Collaborative Effort for Marine Oil Spill Detection and Monitoring Capabilities

Posted Wed, 05/01/2019 - 18:02

MAY 2, 2019 — On this day, one year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its counterpart in the north, Environment and Climate Change Canada, worked together to create the North American Satellite Tracking of Pollution (NASTOP) Program to bolster our shared capacity to respond to marine pollution events.

‘There is Nothing Gained by the Second Kick of a Mule’ and Failure to Prepare for Disasters

Posted Wed, 04/24/2019 - 11:19
By Charlie Henry, Office of Response and Restoration

Preparing for a disaster isn’t that different from preparing for a sporting event or just about any activity in which planning benefits from past experience. We learn from past events and apply that knowledge to future events — or we at least like to believe that we truly do learn and make better future decisions from experience.

Putting the 'PREP' in Preparedness: An Exercise to Improve Oil Spill Response in Alaska
By Catherine Berg, Office of Response and Restoration
alyssa.dillon Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:07

Spill response exercises and frequent training opportunities are integral to the overall preparedness efforts for OR&R, NOAA, and our partners in both industry and the government. Some exercises are even required by law to ensure all parties are prepared for an oil spill. All vessels over 400 gross tons — which includes almost all ocean-going vessels and large fishing vessels — are required to have a vessel response plan. Per the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, vessels are also required to meet federal oil pollution response exercise requirements.