1 JULY 1997 - 31 DECEMBER 1997
I. MAJOR ACTIVITIES.
A. MAJOR/NOTEWORTHY RESPONSE ACTIVITIES:
1) M/V KUROSHIMA GROUNDING IN UNALASKA: At approximately 3:00 PM on November 26, 1997, the M/V Kuroshima, a 4,160 gross ton Panamanian flag freight vessel, grounded on a rock ledge in the vicinity of Second Priest Rock in Summers Bay while attempting to get the vessel underway from the anchorage. The vessel was lifted off the ledge by incoming swells after losing propulsion. The loss of propulsion resulted from the propeller’s blades being sheared off after striking the rock ledge. The swells were reported to be 20-25 feet with 40 knot winds and higher gusts. Two Kuroshima crew members died prior to the grounding when a large wave washed over the bow tossing the crewmen into deck equipment. US Coast Guard personnel rescued the remaining crew members during the night of November 26. The ship's fuel capacity was 165,000 gallons of bunker oil and #2 diesel. About 39,000 gallons of bunker oil was spilled. The storm also drove oil over the beach into Summer Bay Lake. The ARRT was activated and resource trustee agencies were notified by the ARRT Co-Chair by 7:00 pm.
At 8:00 AM December 19 1997, the M/V Kuroshima response operations and Unified Command transitioned into the "Long Term Plan." The Long Term Plan details the transition from the initial response phase to the second phase (Winter Maintenance Program) and third phase (spring/summer mobilization). It provides a time line detailing objectives and estimated time they will be completed. The M/V Kuroshima remains aground in Summer Bay. Crowley Marine Services, Inc. will attempt to salvage the vessel.
The NRT's 'Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties during Emergency Response' was implemented by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to address historic properties both affected and potentially affected as a result of this incident. To date, approximately 125 dead oiled birds have been recovered and approximately 20 live oiled birds have been captured and transported to Homer, Alaska, for cleaning and rehabilitation. (Complete details regarding the spill, i.e., photos, news releases, situation reports, and pertinent maps are available at the following website location: www.state.ak.us/dec/home.htm)
2) Other minor cases are described in the ARRT minutes from the September 4th and the November 25th, 1997 ARRT meetings. (ARRT minutes are posted on NOAA 1st Class Email or contact LCDR Larry Musarra at: (907) 463-2211 or firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of ARRT minutes.)
1) PORT SNETTISHAM NPREP EXERCISE AUGUST 13, 1997: The exercise was a simulation of a major pollution incident that occurred within the Marine Safety Office/COTP Juneau area of responsibility. It was a functional exercise focusing on the assembly of a Spill Management Team, comprised of members from the response community, and deployment of response equipment to a remote area. A copy of the After Action Report/Lessons Learned can be obtained by calling LCDR Larry Musarra; 907-463-2211.
2) TESORO PWS TANKER DRILL, OCTOBER 15-16, 1997: The drill simulated an outbound tanker which was struck by an escort tug during departure from the berth. The drill simulated a release of an estimated 2800 barrels of North Slope crude oil into the Port of Valdez. Federal, State, industry and RCAC representatives participated in this two-day the drill. A lesson learned during this exercise was that the RCACs have a roll to play in spills and drills and there is a need to define their roles and protocols. An additional note by the Unified Command was that the ARRT involvement with the dispersant application was excellent and quick in the decision making process.
3) BP PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND DRILL, SEPTEMBER 10-11, 1997: Day one of this exercise was held as a TTX in the Valdez Emergency Operations Center (VEOC), day two was observation on water of a Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) Fishing Vessel Task Force exercise. During Day one, a full ICS was in effect with BP taking the lead. The exercise focused on establishing, supporting, and maintaining Fishing Vessel Task Forces at remote on-water locations in PWS. This exercise was in preparation for the large scale exercise scheduled for Sept. of 98.
C. ARRT MEETINGS: Two ARRT meetings were held during this period: 4 September 1997 on the North Slope, AK hosted by BP and Alaska Clean Seas and 25 November 1997 in Nikiski, AK, hosted by Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response, Inc. (CISPRI). At the Nikiski meeting, the Director of the Russian Federal Marine Pollution Control and Salvage Administration, members of his staff and the Russian Federal Border Service were present. The Russian Contingency were in the U.S. for the planning of a major oil spill exercise near Sakhalin invoking the Russia - US Joint Response Team agreement.
D. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: The contractor has completed the package for submission to EPA for seeking approval of the ALOFT smoke plume predictive model. ADEC is currently reviewing the package and it will be formally transmit that to EPA Region 10 in January 1998. Negotiation with the contractor to work on the markup for Revision One of the guidelines is in progress. Negotiations and contract amendments should be completed by the end of the year. The committee prepared and distributed responses to the questions concerning the In-Situ Burning Guidelines from the last ARRT meeting.
E. WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP (WPWG): In mid-August, the Pribilof Islands Wildlife Protection Subgroup completed preliminary draft 'Wildlife Protection Guidelines: Pribilof Islands' and preliminary draft 'Wildlife Protection Recommendations: Pribilof Islands'. The documents were distributed to subgroup members for review. The subgroup met in August and November 1997 to discuss the documents and remaining action items. Final draft guidelines and recommendations from the subgroup will be prepared in 1998 and submitted to the Wildlife Protection Working Group and the Pribilof Islands Working Group for review. Once consensus is reached, the guidelines will be finalized and the submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for inclusion in the Aleutian Islands Subarea Contingency Plan. Wildlife protection recommendations will be submitted to the Pribilof Islands Working Group.
F. CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP (CRWG): The CRWG met to begin the process of developing an implementation document for the NRT's 'Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties during Emergency Response'. An overview of the NRT's Programmatic Agreement was provided to ARRT members at the November 1997 ARRT meeting. The National Agreement was first implemented during the M/V Kuroshima spill response.
II. GENERAL PREPAREDNESS AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING.
A. STATE LIAISON: See paragraph C, "FEDERAL/STATE UNIFIED PLAN AND SUBAREA PLANS" below.
B. TRAINING: Training during this period included participation in industry-sponsored exercises and Level 300 ISC training for 12 members at MSO Valdez.
C. FEDERAL/STATE UNIFIED PLAN AND SUBAREA PLANS:
1) Unified Plan: The Coast Guard, ADEC, and the EPA solicited comments for the development of an initial draft of Change 2 to the Unified Plan. The ARRT was briefed on the comments received thus far at the September and November meetings. The overall plan is to publish Change 2 in the Spring/Summer 1998 timeframe. This schedule will be dependent on any additional changes proposed by the ARRT and changes which may result from the revisions and streamlining of the PWS Tanker Contingency Plan. The Unified Plan is also currently being reformatted by District 17 staff to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements.
2) Subarea Plans:
a. Three Subarea plans (Southeast, Prince William Sound, and Cook Inlet) were completed and distributed.
b. The Cook Inlet SCP (dated July 1997) was published and distributed to appropriate agencies in September. The Marine Safety Office Anchorage has reactivated the Cook Inlet Subarea Committee. The Committee met in October and identified four priority tasks for the Operations, Sensitive Areas, and Logistics Work Groups. These tasks include shoreline identification and access, shoreline protection strategies, nearshore protection strategies, and an overall communications plan (to include identification of staging areas and command post locations). The Logistics and Operations Work Groups met December 2 to discuss the Subarea Committee’s priorities and develop a strategy for satisfying these tasks. The Cook Inlet Subarea Committee met on January 9 to receive an update from the work groups.
c. The Prince William Sound SCP (dated July 1997) was published and distributed in September. The PWS Marine Firefighting Plan is a separate, stand-alone plan (as directed by the Marine Safety Office Valdez). The Prince William Sound SCP will also require update (Change 1) in conjunction with changes to the PWS Tanker Contingency Plan and the Unified Plan. A contract for the development of the Copper River Delta plan was approved and funded by the PWS Tanker C-plan holders. However, development of the plan has been delayed.
d. The Kodiak Subarea Committee has held several subarea planning meetings in Kodiak during this period. The Operations, Logistics, and Sensitive Areas Work Groups have also met to further develop their respective sections of the subarea plan. The Kodiak Island Borough and the PWS RCAC have hired a local contractor to facilitate the planning process and to further develop and update the working drafts of the plan. The Kodiak SCP is approaching the public review phase and staff anticipates conducting the public review of the plan in the Spring-Summer 1998 timeframe as well.
e. The North Slope Subarea plan is currently on hold, pending the outcome of the North Slope Project Team. (The North Slope Project Team is comprised of members of the Coast Guard, State of Alaska, industry, and local representatives to develop scenarios and review strategies during a spill response on the North Slope.) The North Slope Sensitive Areas Work Group has been active and has met once in Anchorage and twice in Fairbanks to discuss common mapping protocols for the North Slope Environmental Sensitive Index (ESI) maps to be developed jointly with inputs from Federal, State, local, industry and spill coops. The next step is to receive endorsement (both formal approval and additional funding) from the North Slope Steering Committee in order to proceed with further development of these maps.
f. The Interior Subarea plan is under development by the EPA START contractor. A preliminary meeting was held with EPA, the contractor (Ecology and Environment), and ADEC on December 18 to discuss the initial working draft of the plan. The contractor will be preparing the formal draft of the plan, and EPA will be convening the Interior Subarea Committee in late February to present the plan and formally begin the planning process.
g. The Aleutians SCP was also under development through an ADEC contract with Shannon and Wilson, Inc. Two subarea committee meetings were held, and the contractor further developed the draft plan by incorporating the recommended changes and comments provided by subarea committee members. The Aleutians Subarea Committee met again in November 1997 to discuss the latest draft of the subarea plan. The contract with Shannon and Wilson ended on December 15, 1997. The subarea committee agreed to move ahead in preparing a final draft with the intention for public review of the plan to occur in the Spring-Summer 1998 timeframe.
3) The Federal/State Joint Planning Process:
a. Joint Sitka Training: During the week of 9 September 1997, a field training session was held in Sitka, AK. Training consisted of 1st Responder Training, HAZWOPER training, and field training for the deployment of Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) and booming equipment. Coast Guard Seventeenth District DRAT, one USCG WLB (CGC WOODRUSH), Air Station Sitka, Air Station Kodiak, MSO Juneau/MSD Sitka, MSO Valdez, MSO Anchorage, CG MLCPAC IH Detachment Juneau, ADEC, SEAPRO, harbormasters, and cleanup contractors participated in the training.
III. PERSONNEL CHANGES.
A. Ms. Deborah Vo replaced Mr. Joe Llanos as the ARRT representative for the Alaska-Inter Tribal Council.
B. Ms. Gina Belt replace Mr. Jim Nicolle as the ARRT representative for the Department of Justice.
C. Mr. Dick Stiefken replaced Mr. Barry Noll as the ARRT representative for the Department of Labor, OSHA.
IV. ISSUES REQUIRING RRT ACTION: Alaska Clean Seas (ASC) is planning to conduct a project during the spring of 1999 consisting of a series of mid-scale burns on sea ice. The ARRT will support this research project.
V. FUTURE PLANS: Issue improved In-Situ Burn Guidelines which allow for geographic variation of response technique. Some ARRT members to participate in Joint Response Team Exercise in Sakhalin. Unfunded mandates will be addressed by Co-Chairs at NRT National Conference in February 1998.
A. WILDLIFE PROTECTION WORKING GROUP: Finalize the Wildlife Protection Guidelines: Pribilof Islands" and "Wildlife Protection Recommendations: Pribilof Islands".
B. CULTURAL RESOURCES WORKING GROUP: Develop an Alaska implementation document for the NRT "Programmatic Agreement on Protection of Historic Properties during Emergency Response."
C. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE: Continuing R&D on In-Situ burning.