Incident Responses for October 2021

Posted Fri, 11/12/2021 - 18:12

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 16 incidents in October, including oil discharges, grounded vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.  

A Spooky Science Story: Deep-Sea Corals Entombed by an Oily Snow

Posted Fri, 10/29/2021 - 13:21
By Megan Ewald and Daniel Hahn

At the very bottom of the Gulf of Mexico live deep-sea corals—soft, alien versions of their more familiar shallow water cousins. For eons, deep-sea corals thrived in the depths, providing shelter for smaller denizens like brittlestars, sponges, and crabs. Until one day, dirty snow from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill descended upon them.

Incident Responses for September 2021

Posted Mon, 10/04/2021 - 19:12

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 seven incidents in September, including oil discharges, grounded vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.  

Preventing Marine Pollution through a Historic Shipwreck Database

Posted Fri, 10/01/2021 - 14:29
By Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration

Prevention efforts have reduced recent ship sinkings, but what about the thousands of historical shipwrecks in U.S. waters?  Many of these sit out of sight, damaged, collapsed onto the seabed—some threatening to leak their oil cargo or fuel. Is there a way to prevent spills from ships that have already sunk? Improvements in underwater technologies now allow salvage companies to safely conduct oil removal operations from sunken ships, but where to start? 

The Power of Prevention to Keep the Sea Free of Marine Debris

Posted Thu, 09/30/2021 - 11:53

Our ocean is filled with items that don’t belong there. From our everyday food wrappers, plastic bottles, and cigarettes to large and damaging derelict fishing nets and abandoned and derelict vessels, marine debris is a global problem that touches every corner of our ocean and Great Lakes. Although cleaning up marine debris is a helpful way to address the problem, the best way to keep marine debris out of our environment is by preventing it. 

Preventing Marine Pollution Before the Storm

Posted Wed, 09/29/2021 - 13:50
By Leah Odeneal, Office of Response and Restoration

There are many ways to prepare for hurricanes as individuals, organizations, and as communities. Hurricanes pose threats from storm surge, inland flooding, wind damage, and even tornadoes. These impacts also lead to a lesser known but dangerous threat—natural and man-made marine debris.

Backyard Pollution Prevention: 5 Ways to Help Keep Waterways Healthy

Posted Tue, 09/28/2021 - 14:35
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration

When it comes to keeping waterways clean, we all have a part to play. Some of the most simple steps can take place in your own backyard. Our communities, including our individual homes, are part of an interconnected watershed. This means that the rain that falls onto your house and lawn flows through communities. From there they flow into creeks, rivers, and even into lakes or oceans.

NOAA Contributes to U.S. Coast Guard Mission to Recover Oil from Sunken WWII Vessel

Posted Mon, 09/13/2021 - 17:15
By Vicki Loe, Doug Helton, and Lisa Symons, Office of Response and Restoration

At about 1:30 a.m.on Tuesday, May 5, 1942,  the American Steam Tanker Munger T. Ball, en route to Norfolk, Virginia, from Port Arthur, Texas, with a cargo of 65,000 gallons of gasoline was hit twice by torpedoes and machine gun fire from the German U-507 about 80 miles northwest of Key West, Florida. The first hit caused the tanker to burst into flames, preventing the crews’ ability to launch lifeboats, leaving 30 dead and four survivors who were able to swim away from the burning vessel and be rescued four hours later. The vessel sank within 15 minutes of the second hit.