PROC E E DI NG S
Spring 2015 Vol. 72, Number 1
History and Heritage
6 Today’s National Strike Force: National Strike Force...
59 Keeping It Safe: Strike force members collaborate to clean a poisonous substance.
by Mr. J. J. Kichner, P.E.
62 Nationa...
We devote this issue of Proceedings to those who assume, as their core mission, responsibility for all-
hazards response. ...
Picture the following scenarios: 1) two vessels collide on the Houston Ship Channel and thick bunker
fuel gushes into the ...
6 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
The U.S. Department of State coordinates all international
support, whi...
7Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
required equipment. The remainder of the team maintains
a 24-hour respons...
8 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
they are ready to respond to even the most dangerous toxic
industrial c...
9Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
Oil spill response services: NSF personnel provide special-
ized oil spil...
10 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
Preparedness
In addition to providing environmental response doctrine,...
11Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
History and Evolution
Torrey Canyon,
Cuyahoga River Fire
The massive oil...
12 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
Reduced energy and feedstock costs also are renewing the
domestic chem...
13Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
Endnotes:
1. While the NCP uses the term on-scene coordinator, the Coast...
14 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
Furthermore, the plan proposed a national “reaction team,”
identified ...
15Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
The First USCG Strike Teams
By 1973, the USCG established three strike t...
16 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
National Strike Force Significant Events
1 9 7 0 s
1973
Three strike te...
17Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
2 0 1 0 s
2010
Deepwater
Horizon oil spill
2010
F/V E.S.S. Pursuit
musta...
18 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
events exceeded the capabilities of state resources, National
Response...
19Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
The Exxon Valdez
In March 1989, that world was stood on its head when th...
20 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
restricted Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund use to strictly oil
incident...
21Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
The USCG NPFC tracks and compiles incident costs and
expenditures and th...
22 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
The 1970s
by Mr. Peter A. Brunk
When I first came aboard the strike te...
23Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
Shark Fin Shoals. I told the mate to get out of the notch, put
the hawse...
24 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
20 feet. After a few more passes by the tug, the ship refloated
with n...
25Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
Well, never say “never.” In March, I answered an early-
morning page, to...
26 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
The 1990s
by Mr. Mark G. Gregory
When I arrived at the Pacific Strike ...
27Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings
Endnotes:
1. Flexible containers used to store/transport liquid.
The 200...
28 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings
No Rest for the Weary
With the response to the World Trade Center stil...
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings
of 100

National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings

Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - National Strike Force Coast Guard Proceedings

  • 1. PROC E E DI NG S Spring 2015 Vol. 72, Number 1 History and Heritage 6 Today’s National Strike Force: National Strike Force all-hazard response capabilities. by LT Scott Houle and BM1 Kenny Tucker 10 The National Strike Force and the National Response System: Origins and evolution. by Mr. Scott R. Lundgren 14 From Oil to Anthrax: The National Strike Force’s long, messy history. by CDR Keith M. Donohue 19 The Oil Spill Response Fund: Four decades of success. by Mr. Allen R. Thuring 22 Four Decades of Response: Four NSF team members recall their experiences. by Mr. Peter A. Brunk, Miguel L. Bella, Mr. Mark G. Gregory and DC1 Ken W. Bond 30 Fathoms Below: The Coast Guard NSF Dive Program. by CDR JoAnne Hanson Oil Spill Response 32 Federalized and Privatized Oil Spill Response: Accountability through oil spill response capability. by LT Jonathan Cooper, LT Michael Clausen, and Mr. Richard Gaudiosi 34 The Exxon Valdez Spill: Twenty-five years later. by Mr. Gary A. Reiter, Mr. Glenn Wiltshire, and Mr. Jack Kemerer 37 National Strike Force Oversight: Ensuring marine salvage and commercial diving operation safety. by Mr. Jim Elliott 40 SMART Monitoring Protocol: The on-scene coordinator’s tool for success. by LT Frank Kulesa and Master Chief Marine Science Technician Andrew Jaeger 44 Beyond Augmentation: Specialized forces in the Texas City “Y” spill response. by CAPT Brian Penoyer, CAPT Randal Ogrydziak, CAPT Lisa Campbell, CDR Ricardo Alonso, CDR Kevin Lynn, CDR Zeita Merchant, and LCDR Valerie Boyd 48 Between the Spills: NOAA’s efforts to mitigate coastal hazards. by Mr. Doug Helton 52 An Energy Renaissance: New fuel transport methods bring potential new risk. by LT Aaron Jozsef HAZMAT Response 54 From Oil Spills to Chemical Releases: The Environmental Protection Agency’s role in national response. by Ms. Dana Tulis 57 That’s a Lot of Oil: A National Strike Force Superfund response. by Mr. Dale R. Hemenway and Mr. James W. Snyder
  • 2. 59 Keeping It Safe: Strike force members collaborate to clean a poisonous substance. by Mr. J. J. Kichner, P.E. 62 National Strike Force CBRN Operations: Specialized teams with specialized capabilities. by CDR Tedd Hutley and LT Brownie Kuk 65 Experience Can Be the Best Teacher: Building federal all-hazmat response proficiency. by LT Bryan Naranjo and LTJG Leigh Van Lear Incident Management 68 Leadership in a Time of Crisis: An interview with former NSF commanding officer, RDML Meredith Austin. by LT Christopher Kimrey 72 The Incident Command System: A historical perspective. by CDR Kristy Plourde and CDR Ron Cantin 74 Beyond Complexity: Leadership in support of the on-scene coordinator. by LCDR Jeffrey Rubini, CEM 77 Calling in Reinforcements: Coast Guard surge support. by Mr. Kevin Sligh and LCDR Robert Gore 79 We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: International response efforts. by CDR Kevin Lynn 82 Incident Management and Crisis Response: A collective approach. by CAPT Joseph Gleason and CDR Jason Gunning 85 Today’s IMAT: Ready to assist with incident management by CAPT Anthony Lloyd Lessons Learned 87 Gathering Facts, Investigating Incidents, Preventing Casualties: Lessons learned from an oil spill response perspective. by Mr. Robert VanZandt and Mr. Scott Lundgren Deck 4 Assistant Commandant’s Perspective by Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown 5 Champion’s Point of View by CAPT Claudia C. Gelzer 91 Chemical of the Quarter Understanding Mustard Gas: The lingering threat. by Joshua P. Gray, Ph.D., LCDR Gregory Crettol, MST2 Thomas Withers, 1/c Samantha Cardoza and 1/c Joshua Moan Nautical Queries 95 Engineering 97 Deck 99 Upcoming in Proceedings Cover image by SanerG/iStock/Thinkstock. Graphics USCG and its licensors, unless otherwise indicated.
  • 3. We devote this issue of Proceedings to those who assume, as their core mission, responsibility for all- hazards response. Skillfully preparing for and responding to disasters of all kinds—from oil spills and hazardous material releases to mass casualties—requires a diverse, robust, engaged, and proficient team. Those who comprise our National Response System are proactive in thinking strategically, initiating informed policy, honing and applying intelligent on-the-ground tactics, training continually, stocking and maintaining essential specialized equipment, operating in interagency and international environ- ments, drafting and preserving careful documentation, and much more, all while carefully navigating complicated legal, fiscal, political, and public-relations realities. As I write, we are deploying members of the Pacific Strike Team to Bangladesh to assist authorities there in responding to a significant heavy fuel oil spill impacting the Sundarbans, a site renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, which is now endangered. This, unfortunately, is not an exceptional case. It merely serves as one example of how we deploy National Strike Force personnel on a regular basis. Each strike team member averages 160 deployment days per year, in support of national and international crisis response operations. In another case, we detailed an industrial hygienist to the DHS Office of Health Affairs to assist with the Ebola outbreak. These deployments require an enormous amount of col- laboration and coordination, and are vitally important to cultivating and sustaining a healthy National Response System that is critical to ensuring national security and our collective economic well-being. Certain emerging realities highlight the demand for our all-hazards capabilities and the criticality of preparing for and executing all-hazards response operations. The contemporary boom in North American crude oil and natural gas production, for example, will stress marine transportation systems already faced with aging infrastructure, minimal recapitalization, and a general lack of investment. With increased vessel traffic and congestion on our waterways, we must anticipate some increase in dis- charges, spills, groundings, and other accidents. Swelling populations, typically densely clustered along coastal shorelines, are especially vulnerable to severe weather. Hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, and other disastrous natural events devastate communities, bring about catastrophic loss of life, and damage key infrastructure. International political tensions can spark armed conflict, increasingly asymmetric and unconventional in nature, as well as violence by terrorist organizations or lone actors; nefarious intent carries with it potential use of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive devices. The aforementioned challenges represent the proverbial tip of the iceberg to which those who make up the National Response System—operators and support staff alike—devote their time and attention in full. Our service motto of Semper Paratus resonates across the full spectrum of potential events. To this end, and at the direction of the Commandant, the Deputy Commandant for Operations and U.S. Coast Guard headquarters staff are diligently working on a Climate Change Strategy and an Energy Renaissance Action Plan. These documents will complement existing guidance, such as the Western Hemisphere Strategy, and provide important direction and prioritization for programmatic and field- level response efforts. This issue of Proceedings provides an in-depth understanding of the historical accomplishments, cur- rent challenges, and future work in the dynamic world of incident management and crisis response. I strongly encourage you to take away from this insightful and intriguing issue an understanding that the safety and security of our citizenry, environment, and economy depend upon, at least in part, the comprehensive initiatives of interagency, Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Coast Guard national responders. 4 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Admiral Paul F. Zukunft Commandant U.S. Coast Guard The Marine Safety & Security Council of the United States Coast Guard Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin Judge Advocate General Chairman Mr. Jeffrey G. Lantz Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards Member Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown Assistant Commandant for Response Policy Member Rear Admiral Paul F. Thomas Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy Member Rear Admiral Todd A. Sokalzuk Assistant Commandant for Resources, Chief Financial Officer Member Rear Admiral Peter W. Gautier Director for Governmental and Public Affairs Member Captain Jonathan C. Burton Director of Inspections and Compliance Member Mr. William R. Grawe (Acting) Director of National Pollution Funds Center Member Mr. Gary C. Rasicot Director of Marine Transportation Systems Management Member Ms. Mary E. Landry Director of Incident Management and Preparedness Policy Member Mr. Michael W. Mumbach Executive Secretary Assistant Commandant’s Perspective by REAR ADMIRAL PETER J. BROWN U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Response Policy
  • 4. Picture the following scenarios: 1) two vessels collide on the Houston Ship Channel and thick bunker fuel gushes into the busy waterway; 2) train cars derail, release toxic chemicals into Mantua Creek in New Jersey, and residents are exposed; 3) a Category 5 hurricane ruptures a million-gallon oil storage tank, its noxious contents spill into flood waters that surge into New Orleans neighborhoods; 4) the Department of Defense seeks subject matter expertise to destroy Syria’s 620-ton chemical weapons stockpile in a complex offshore operation. Sweating a bit? Or are you chomping at the bit to get to work? If it’s the latter, you’re probably a Coast Guard strike team member. These were real all-hazard response scenarios Coast Guard operational commanders faced. While each required a unique response, they all had one thing in common: the National Strike Force (NSF) deployed to ensure a successful outcome. For more than four decades, these highly trained and specialized teams have responded in the name of public and environmental safety to make bad scenarios better. I’m proud to honor the history of our NSF through this edition of Proceedings. This issue will provide a better understanding of a capability that allows federal on-scene coordinators—both Coast Guard and EPA—to sleep easier at night. A national asset and “special team” codified in the National Con- tingency Plan, the National Strike Force is highly adaptive and ready to respond. It is comprised of three all-hazard response teams under the NSF Coordination Center, covering the U.S. and its territories, and providing technical expertise to international partners worldwide. The NSF was an essential force multiplier when the Coast Guard responded to the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Deepwater Horizon was a watershed event for our service. It tested our capabili- ties, challenged our policies, and reminded us that we must always work to develop more effective response techniques and planning scenarios. In the five years since the spill, the Coast Guard has applied many vital lessons learned to strengthen our people, equipment, and policy. We developed formal FOSC training, created district incident management preparedness advisors, and established a deployable Incident Management Assistance Team. We strengthened interagency partnerships, fortified the spill of national significance exercise program, and invested in pollu- tion response research and development. This year, the field will receive a major program policy update—the new Marine Environmental Response Manual—to replace MSM Volume IX. Perhaps most exciting, the Coast Guard recently welcomed the very first marine safety specialist response warrant officers into our ranks to bolster field expertise. The National Strike Force’s role remains at the core of the Coast Guard’s marine environmental response capability, which will undoubtedly continue to be tested as industry drills offshore in deeper, more remote waters, including in the Arctic; as we experience unprecedented domestic oil production; and as we experience the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. The NSF’s contribution will perhaps be most vital during “peacetime”—the calm between spills and crises—when we can focus on preparedness, planning, and exercises. Congratulations to the authors who contributed to this historic edition of Proceedings. Thank you to all who serve and have served as environmental stewards to our nation. This issue is for you! Champion’s Point of View 5Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Editorial Team Barbara Chiarizia Executive Editor Leslie C. Goodwin Art Director Sarah K. Webster Managing Editor Proceedings is published quarterly in the interest of safety at sea under the auspices of the Marine Safety & Security Council. Special permission for republication, either in whole or in part, except for copyrighted mate- rial, is not required, provided credit is given to Proceedings. The articles contained in Proceed- ings are submitted by diverse public and private interests in the maritime community as a means to promote maritime safety and security. The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Coast Guard or the Department of Homeland Security or represent official policy. Editorial Contact Email: HQS-DG-NMCProceedings@ uscg.mil Mail: Commandant (CG-DCO-84) ATTN: Editor, Proceedings Magazine U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7318 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S.E. Washington, DC 20593-7318 Web: www.uscg.mil/proceedings Phone: (202) 372-2316 Subscription Requests Proceedings is free. Subscriptions www.uscg.mil/proceedings by CAPT CLAUDIA C. GELZER U.S. Coast Guard Chief, Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy
  • 5. 6 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The U.S. Department of State coordinates all international support, which, in many cases, is predetermined and out- lined in existing international agreements between the U.S. and other countries. Personnel The NSF currently boasts more than 200 hazmat technicians who are qualified in specialized response techniques, site safety, hazard mitigation and source control, incident man- agement and command and control support, cost manage- ment, and photo documentation. The strike force maintains three 12-person hazmat teams at all times—one at each strike team location—ready to deploy in response to any request for assistance. Each 12-person team has four members on call ready to deploy within two hours of notification, and an additional eight members on call ready to deploy within six hours of notification with all The National Strike Force (NSF), established in 1973 to com- bat large oil spills in support of the federal on-scene coordi- nator (FOSC), has transformed during the last 40 years into a robust, worldwide, all-hazard response organization. Comprised of the Gulf Strike Team, the Pacific Strike Team, the Atlantic Strike Team, and the National Strike Force Coordination Center, the NSF plans for and responds to: • major oil spills; • hazardous material (hazmat) releases; • vessel lightering and salvage; • natural disasters; • weapons of mass destruction and other chemical, bio- logical, and radiological events. Today’s National Strike Force National Strike Force all-hazard response capabilities. by LT SCOTT HOULE Operations Officer U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team BM1 KENNY TUCKER U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team History and Heritage
  • 6. 7Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings required equipment. The remainder of the team maintains a 24-hour response posture. The Gulf Strike Team is located in Mobile, Alabama; the Pacific Strike Team in Novato, California; and the Atlantic Strike Team in Fort Dix in New Jersey. The National Strike Force Coordination Center is located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Members typically deploy for up to 21 days. If an incident exceeds this period, additional responders will be deployed to backfill positions. National Strike Force responders deploy, on average, 160 days per year. NSF personnel are experts in site safety planning and oversight and are frequently requested to serve as Incident Command System (ICS) safety officers for hazmat response operations. As such, they are familiar with Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for haz- ardous waste operations and emergency response and have specific training in hazard analysis techniques. National Strike Force personnel are also certified to serve in a wide range of ICS positions, including incident commander, operations section chief, planning chief, safety officer, and finance and logistics section chief, or as deputies or coaches for those positions. As hazmat technicians, NSF personnel are subject mat- ter experts in hazard mitigation and source control; and, although technicians are trained and ready to suit up in personal protective equipment (PPE)1 to go in and physi- cally perform source control, they are more often requested to provide advice and help develop strategies. Response Services Biological response services: The National Strike Force maintains the equipment and capability to conduct site assessment and characterization for incidents with sus- pected biological warfare agents. Personnel use specialized equipment to make field presumptive determinations to identify if a biological agent exists at the incident and then make recommendations to the FOSC based on the results. The National Strike Force Plug and Play The National Strike Force prides itself on being completely interoper- able—meaning any NSF strike team member is able to seamlessly integrate with personnel from the other strike teams, regardless of which team the other personnel came from. Moreover, the strike force works toward interoperability with other specialized response teams from other government agencies and non-governmental orga- nizations through joint exercises and training sessions, to refine interopera- bility and share and enhance each other’s best practices and policies. Going the Distance The NSF’s 12-person hazmat response teams are each capable of rapid deploy- ment with equipment that allows them to operate 24 hours a day in up to Level A personal protective equipment (fully encapsulated, vapor-tight protection). This allows the team to make continuous entries into a contaminated area for at least72 hours,beforetheyneedtorestock specialized protective gear or personnel. This is a significant advantage for inci- dents in remote locations and those that require complex efforts to secure a contamination source or to minimize human health or environmental impact. Tailored Response All NSF hazmat technicians are proficient in chemical response operations. Addi- tionally, the teams maintain many types of response packages. Each is comprised of slightly different equipment, but all are ready for quick deployment. This allows teams to be very nimble in their response and deployment tactics and to quickly tailor a package to the response, as every incident is unique and requires slightly different equipment. Fighting Brain Drain Due to the rapid increase of oil produc- tion throughout the United States, there is a clear demand for experienced oil spill response personnel. In the post-Deep- water Horizon era, the response commu- nity is faced with the inevitable loss of experienced personnel—those who responded to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. These responders, who were then in their 30s, have since gathered 25 years of experience and are approaching retire- ment age. It is and continues to be a chal- lengetoreplaceresponderswiththislevel of knowledge and real-world experience. In an effort to enhance their experience and competency, NSF personnel consis- tently respond to oil-related incidents, participate in exercises, and conduct training sessions year-round and throughout the world. SMART The National Strike Force also implements and monitors special oil spill response tactics, also known as “specialized moni- toring of applied response technologies” or SMART, which rely on small, highly mobile teams that collect real-time data during dispersant and in-situ burning operations. This information is channeled to the unified command and allows leaders to make appropriate response decisions.
  • 7. 8 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings they are ready to respond to even the most dangerous toxic industrial chemical, toxic industrial material, or chemical warfare agent. Chemical response services: These are among the most complex and robust of all NSF capabilities. From the first month responders report to a strike team, they are immersed in training and real-world exercises to ensure Specialized Equipment Personal Protective Equipment The National Strike Force maintains a robust cache of specialized personal protectiveequipmenttoallowresponders to safely perform work in hazardous envi- ronments, including levels A, B, C, and D personal protective equipment (Level A being the most protective). Robot Each strike team also has a mini Andros robot that can transport hazmat sensors into a hazardous environment. It also serves as a great remote-observation instrument, as it is equipped with three onboard video cameras. Hazmat Response Trailer Carrying everything needed to conduct continuous entries into a hazardous environment, the hazardous material response trailer comes complete with a mobile incident command center, robust communications suite, onboard genera- tors, and an air compressor system to refill self-contained breathing apparatus air bottles. Re-Breather A re-breather is a breathing apparatus that recycles the substantially unused oxygen content of each breath, which allows responders to remain in a hazardous environment in excess of four hours—much longer than responders wearing self-contained breathing appa- ratus. Re-breather technology prom- ises to become the future of respiratory protection for NSF responders. Monitoring Equipment Strike force members use detection and monitoring equipment—such as organic vapor-detection instruments, multi-gas meters for toxic and explosive atmospheres, networked remote atmo- spheric monitors, and aerosol particu- late meters—to identify unknown atmo- spheres and quantify contamination. The NSF also constantly evaluates new technology and advanced instru- ments that are emerging for emergency response. This ensures that older, less capable, or more bulky equipment is replaced by equipment that offers more compact, robust technology. Mobile Incident Command Trailer One of the NSF’s most recent additions to its specialized equipment collection is an updated mobile incident command post, which replaces mobile incident command posts that the Department of Defense transferred to the National Strike Force in 1997. The trailer is self-contained, complete with generator power, climate control, and an extensive wireless communica- tions system that allows NSF responders to leverage advanced communications, video, and geographic information systems technology for efficient and effective response. Radiation Detection Tools NSF personnel use a variety of instru- ments to detect, identify, and measure radiation, for example, thermo lumi- nescent dosimeters to ensure response personnel don’t exceed their annual dose limit for ionizing radiation. Oil Spill Response Equipment NSF oil spill response equipment includes the vessel of opportunity skimming system, inflatable open water contain- ment boom, and temporary storage devices. Small Boats The Coast Guard 26-foot trailerable aids to navigation boat provides the NSF a versatile platform from which to perform multiple missions. Its removable buoy door allows waterline diver deployment and recovery for a smooth transition and assists with diver fatigue. Shallow draft, 18-foot aluminum hull cen- ter console vessels allow NSF respond- ers to deploy on rivers, lakes, and bays that may have shallow water concerns. Responders also use 12-14 foot alumi- num flat-bottom jon boats for floodwater operations and where restricted access situations call for small boat operations. Pumps NSF personnel use oil and chemical pumping equipment to pump a wide range of chemicals, such as highly corro- sive acids, toxic materials, and other dangerous industrial chemicals. The NSF pumping equipment was even used to de-water flooded tunnels in New York and New Jersey, following Hurricane Sandy. The NSF’s pumping equipment is espe- cially useful for transferring product from damaged storage containers or vessels through a process referred to as an “over- the-top” transfer. Vehicles The strike team’s cache of all-terrain vehi- cles allows personnel to deploy with the proper PPE and other equipment. MST1 Spencer Ehlers carries NSF Level 2 radiation detection equipment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by MST2 Heather Clark.
  • 8. 9Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Oil spill response services: NSF personnel provide special- ized oil spill response experience and specialty knowledge, so responders typically seek them out for validation, consul- tation, and to share techniques associated with oil-related incidents. Additionally, strike force oil response equipment can be deployed anywhere in the world to assist in any response. Radiological response services: Strike force personnel detect and identify radiation sources and understand Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and neutron radiation. NSF responders typi- cally make initial recommendations and may escalate a response to a special team that specializes in just radiologi- cal response. The National Strike Force Coordination Center The center oversees the three strike teams and the oil spill response organization classification program. Companies that participate in this voluntary program are subject to a stringent verification program and receive appropriate NSFCC response classifications. The coordination center also maintains a national logistics database—the response resource inventory.2 40-Year Reflection The National Strike Force has transformed significantly, from an organization constructed solely to support FOSCs in response to oil spills into an all-hazard response organization, capable of responding to anything from natu- ral disasters to weapons of mass destruction and terrorist events. NSF responders have risen to the challenge on numerous occasions, learning new response procedures, tactics, and overcoming significant challenges such as an increase in missions without additional personnel or funding to help with most of the new responsibilities. Although we have the specialized equipment to provide our advertised response capabilities, because of the NSF’s professionalism, commit- ment to the mission, public service, and specialized train- ing, NSF personnel remain its greatest assets. About the authors: LT Scott Houle has served in many capacities in the U.S. Coast Guard for 23 years, including two tours in the Gulf Strike Team Operations Depart- ment. BM1 Kenny Tucker has served in many capacities in the U.S. Coast Guard for 13 years, including the Gulf Strike Team Deck and Training Depart- ments. Endnotes: 1. See https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_ table=STANDARDS&p_id=9767. 2. The Response Resource Inventory, expanded in 1995 to accommodate the needs of the Oil Spill Removal Organization Classification initiative, includes data from companies that wish to have their equipment listed in a publicly acces- sible system, as well as data generated from the Oil Spill Response Organiza- tion classification program. Private industry participation is voluntary, except for when they apply for classified OSROs. See https://cgrri.uscg.mil/logon. aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fdefault.aspx. MSTC Bo Lisenby is wearing Level A (the highest level) per- sonal protective equipment with air monitoring equipment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by MST2 Heather Clark. MSTC Bo Lisenby, in Level C PPE, carries a radiation detector. U.S. Coast Guard photo by MST2 Heather Clark. Level A, B, C, and D Personal Protective Equipment Level  A protection is required when the greatest potential for exposure to hazards exists and when the greatest level of skin, respiratory, and eye protection is required. Level B is worn when the same level of respiratory protection is required as in Level A, but a lesser degree of skin protection is needed. Level  B protective clothing includes a one-piece ensemble with the self-contained breathing apparatus worn outside the garment. Separate gloves and boots are sealed at the interfaces to minimize chemical penetration. Level C has the same level of skin protection as Level B, but a lower level of respiratory protection. One- or two-piece splash suits are worn with a cartridge respirator. Used with chemicals that are not hazardousviaskinabsorptionandaretypicallywellbelowestablished exposure limits. Level C is required when the concentration and type of airborne substances are known and meet the criteria for using air-purifying respirators. Level D is the minimum protection required. Protection is primarily a work uniform.
  • 9. 10 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Preparedness In addition to providing environmental response doctrine, the National Response System “family of plans” ensures key stakeholders across the system are participants in the plan- ning documents that apply to their role and that participants establish response strategies and relationships in advance. At the national level, the 15 National Response Team mem- ber departments and agencies2 provide input to the Envi- ronmental Protection Agency and issue NRS guidance. Regional response teams in 13 regions around the country maintain regional contingency plans consistent with the NCP. At the local level, federal on-scene coordinators chair area committees that write area contingency plans, which capture the tactical level of response prepara- tions. The system also guides the relationships with state emergency response com- missions and local emer- gency planning committees to ensure that community level hazardous substance plans are related to the wider NRS family of plans. Response The system begins with National Response Center (NRC) activation. The or- ganization responsible for a discharge of oil or release of hazardous substances The multi-layered National Response System (NRS) has undergone several generational advances to ensure effec- tive oil and hazardous substance spill preparedness and response. The core of the NRS, the National Oil and Hazard- ous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, or NCP, estab- lishes the roles and mechanisms whereby federal resources and expertise are brought in to assist responses that exceed the capability of local, state, tribal, or territorial responders. Specifically, NCP elements support the federal on-scene coordinator (FOSC), 1 through National Response Center notification, interagency plan development, and assistance from specialized teams such as the National Strike Force. The National Strike Force and the National Response System Origins and evolution. by MR. SCOTT R. LUNDGREN Deputy and Technical Advisor U.S. Coast Guard Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy History and Heritage The National Response System Family of Plans U.S. Coast Guard graphic.
  • 10. 11Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings History and Evolution Torrey Canyon, Cuyahoga River Fire The massive oil discharge from the Torrey Canyon in U.K. waters, in March 1967, prompted questions on prepared- ness for such a response in the U.S., resulting in the National Multi-Agency Oil and Hazardous Materials Pollution Contingency Plan, a predecessor of the National Contingency Plan.1 With public sentiment galvanized by the growing environmental movement and events, such as the Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969 (started by a spark falling on oil-slicked debris), 2 Congress passed the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970. This expanded the 1948 Federal Water Pollu- tion Control Act and called for estab- lishing a strike force to provide neces- sary services.3 The executive order that assigned responsibilities also provided clear authority for the Environmental Protec- tion Agency and the Coast Guard to form necessary teams under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and so Coast Guard leadership created the National Strike Force in 1973.4 Love Canal/Valley of the Drums Due to public and political attention regarding unmitigated toxic waste sites such as Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, and the Valley of the Drums near Louisville, Kentucky, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), colloquially known as “Superfund,” which broadened the set of hazardous substances for reporting and removal, established private liability for removal and remediation, and provided for federal removal authority for all affected environments, not just navigable waters. CERCLA also authorized expenditure of Superfund resources for overhead and equipment for federal strike teams.5 Exxon Valdez In 1989 the Exxon Valdez discharged an estimated 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, trig- gering the next major National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan evolution, including developing industry response capa- bility. The NSF shifted from Atlantic and Pacific Area strike teams to a footprint of three: Pacific (Novato, California); Gulf (Mobile, Alabama); and Atlantic (Fort Dix, New Jersey). Coast Guard leaders also created the National Strike Force Coordination Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to administer the strike teams and maintain national equipment inventory.6 must by law report these to the NRC. Then the National Response Center, which han- dles approximately 30,000 spill notifications per year,3 notifies the FOSC, who then contacts national resource trustees and other key response partners and provides an incident as- sessment. For many notifications, the FOSC’s initial assessment determines that the first lines of response (including the company responsible for the spill and local fire, police, and emergency management orga- nizations) are working effec- tively, and on-scene federal involvement is not required. If federal assistance is required, the FOSC initiates or joins a The National Response System Activation, Assessment, and Response. continued on page 12 The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Contingency Plan, 40 CFR 300.105.
  • 11. 12 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Reduced energy and feedstock costs also are renewing the domestic chemical industry, which brings an attendant rise in risk. These and other changes necessitate planning and prepared- ness review to ensure we as a nation are ready to respond. Fortunately, the National Response System and the National Strike Force adapt to address challenges and work to protect human health and the environment. About the author: Mr. Scott Lundgren is the technical advisor and deputy chief of the Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy at Coast Guard headquarters. He also serves as the principal international representative on the Interna- tional Maritime Organization’s International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation technical working group and the Arctic Council’s emergency prevention, preparedness, and response working group. He previously served as chief of the Coast Guard’s Incident Man- agement and Cross Contingency Division, and he holds master’s degrees in environmental management from Harvard and in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. command structure that follows the Incident Command System model of the National Incident Management Sys- tem, and uses a unified command at the leadership level to ensure that there are common incident objectives and approaches.4 Further, the FOSC and the unified command may draw on agency resources or regional and national response teams, as well as National Response System special teams (includ- ing the National Strike Force) that provide deployable, adaptable, and scalable specialized capability. The Future Certain events have tested system limits and have resulted in statutory and regulatory improvements (see sidebar). Looking forward, the burgeoning North American energy and petrochemical trends that have emerged during the past five years have fundamentally changed oil produc- tion and transportation patterns so that a larger number of smaller vessels will spend more time on or near U.S. waters. In the years after this revitalization, the National Strike Force was also integral to the Coast Guard and the environmental response community adopting and inte- grating the Incident Command System.7 9/11, Anthrax The National Strike Force was exten- sively engaged in the 9/11 terrorist attack response, as well as the Capitol Hill anthrax cleanup. The NSF provided tactical entry teams, specialized equip- ment, management support, and a deputy incident commander for the anthrax response emergency phase.8 During this period, leadership inte- grated NSF into the Coast Guard Deploy- able Operations Group and operations included greater integration with secu- rity and defense forces, more involve- ment in special security events, and enhanced chemical, biological, radio- logical, and nuclear capabilities. On the national stage, the NCP played anintegralpartinthepost-9/11National Response Plan, later being integrated as an operational supplement to the suc- cessor National Response Framework. The Incident Command System, long used by environmental responders, became the incident management system of choice and national policy under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5.9 Hurricane Katrina The National Strike Force deployed to the Hurricane Katrina response to sup- port field commanders, and assumed the Coast Guard aspect of the oil and hazardous substance mission, inMembers of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team decontaminate investigators during the Capitol Hill anthrax cleanup. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
  • 12. 13Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Endnotes: 1. While the NCP uses the term on-scene coordinator, the Coast Guard preference used in this document is federal on-scene coordinator to differentiate between the on-scene commander in the search and rescue mission. 2. The 15 agencies are: the Environmental Protection Agency (NRT Chair); the U.S. Coast Guard (NRT Vice Chair); the Department of State; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Labor; the Department of the Interior; the Department of Defense; the Department of Justice; the Department of Health and Human Services; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the Department of Energy; the Department of Commerce; the Gen- eral Services Administration; and the Department of Transportation. 3. National Response Center annual data reports are available at: http://cgmix.uscg. mil/NRC/. 4. See 40 CFR 300.305, or visit online at www.fema.gov/national-incident-manage- ment-system. For more information: To report oil or pollution spills, call the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802. support of the Coast Guard incident commander.10 This event prompted national leaders to replace the National Response Plan with the National Response Framework, which provided more opportunities to utilize the NSF as a key element for envi- ronmental response during a disaster or emergency. Deepwater Horizon The massive discharge from the Macondo well into the Gulf of Mexico was the first oil spill since the Exxon Valdez to demonstrate the challenges and pressures of a spill of national significance. The NSF played a key role in the response and applied specialized removal techniques during this highly complex environmental incident.11 Following this response, the Coast Guard created the Coast Guard Inci- dent Management Assistance Team (CG-IMAT) with an all-hazards incident management focus. The CG-IMAT also absorbed the Public Information Assist Team (PIAT), previously based at the National Strike Force Coordination Center, to provide improved all-hazards incident command support.12 Nationwide efforts included improving National Response System capabilities and developing an oil/chemical inci- dent annex to the Federal Interagency Operations Plan. Recent Events RecentNSFsupportincludesdewatering the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to providing specialized overseas support to the Department of Defense. Endnotes: 1. 19 ELR 10103 | Environmental Law Reporter. Available at http://elr.info/sites/default/files/ articles/19.10103.htm. 2. Kovasity, M. (2013) Environmental Hazards: The Cuyahoga River Fire. EnviroMentor. Available at www.asse.org/professionalsafety/docs/ MarkKovasityArticle.pdf. 3. Public Law 91-224. Available at www.gpo.gov/ fdsys/pkg/Statute-84/pdf/Statute-84-Pg91.pdf. 4. Available at www.archives.gov/federal-register/ codification/executive-order/11735.html. 5. CERCLA/Superfund Orientation Manual. U.S. Envi- ronmental Protection Agency: Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, EPA/542/R-92/005, October 1992. Available at www.epa.gov/super- fund/policy/remedy/pdfs/542r-92005-s.pdf. 6. Pellegrino, C. (1993) OPA 1990 Takes Us Back to the 1970s. International Oil Spill Conference Proceed- ings: March 1993, Vol. 1993, No. 1, p.p. 843-843. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.7901/2169-3358- 1993-1-843. Crickard, Lt. A.M., and Donald S. Jensen (March 1993). Post-OPA 90 National Strike Force. Interna- tion Oil Spill Conference Proceedings. March 1993, Vol. 1993, No. 1., p.p. 273-275. Available at http:// ioscproceedings.org/loi/iosc. 7. Plourde, CDR K., LCDR Tim Deal, and LT Doug Lincoln (2003). Changes in the Use of Incident Command System in the U.S. Coast Guard. Inter- national Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, April 2003, Vol. 2003, No. 1. Available at http://dx.doi. org/10.7901/2169-3358-2003-1-1175. 8. GAO-03-686, a report to the Chairman, Committee on Finance. Washington, DC: U.S. Senate, June 2003, Capitol Hill Anthrax Incident: EPA’s Cleanup Was Successful; Opportunities Exist to Enhance Contract. Available at www.gao.gov/new.items/ d03686.pdf. 9. HSPD-5 is available at http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/ nspd/hspd-5.html. 10. Cantin, R., Roger Laferriere, Larry Hewett, and Charlie Henry. Managing Multiple Oil Spills from a Natural Disaster: The Katrina Oil Spill Responses. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, Vol. 2008, No. 1, May 2008. 11. On Scene Coordinator Report, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, submitted to the NRT, September 2011. Available at www.uscg.mil/foia/docs/dwh/fosc_ dwh_report.pdf. 12. CG-IMAT unit information sheet. Available at www.uscg.mil/lantarea/cgimat/.
  • 13. 14 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Furthermore, the plan proposed a national “reaction team,” identified the responsibilities for each signatory agency,2 and named the on-scene commander as the executive agent who would direct pollution response activities. What the plan lacked, though, was statutory authority that specifi- cally authorized agency responsibilities to implement the plan. Accidents Don’t Wait Then, on January 28, 1969, a gas blowout occurred off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Although the blowout was sealed off by reinserting the drill pipe back into the well, oil began to seep out of natural faults below the ocean floor where the original blowout occurred. During the next few days, an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil escaped, produc- ing a massive oil slick.3 The Coast Guard commander of Group Santa Barbara, designated as the on-scene commander, used the National Contingency Plan for the first time to coordinate local, state, and federal agency response. Responding to the Santa Barbara incident, President Nixon tapped the director of the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Science and Technology to develop a panel to inves- tigate the problem and make recommendations. At the same time, an avalanche of bills sprang up in Con- gress. By February 1969, there were a dozen bills concerning oil pollution pending before the House alone. While the House and the Senate were working on the various bills, another series of disasters occurred. A tanker grounded off the coast of Nova Scotia, a drilling platform exploded off New Orleans, and another tanker grounded in Tampa Bay.4 In 1970, Congress enacted the National Oil and Hazard- ous Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which superseded the 1968 National Multiagency Oil and Hazardous Material Contingency Plan. The new plan defined the term “hazard- ous substance” and mandated that strike forces respond to polluting spills. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the National Strike Force (NSF) has provided support for thousands of incidents throughout the world. It has evolved and continues to be a relevant and effective special team for U.S. Coast Guard federal on-scene coordinators (FOSCs), Environmental Pro- tection Agency (EPA) on-scene coordinators (OSCs), as well as a deployable specialized force for all federal incident com- manders during all-hazard responses. Today’s National Strike Force draws on decades of experi- ence, from the U.S. government’s actions to address oil spills in the 1970s, to hazardous material releases of the 1980s, incident management emergence in the 1990s, and today’s weapons of mass destruction and consequence management realities. Oil Spills of the 1960s and 70s The Beginning In March of 1967, the Torrey Canyon ran aground in shallow waters off the coast of England. The vessel split, spilling an estimated 119,000 tons of crude oil into the English Chan- nel.1 As a result, President Lyndon B. Johnson directed the secretaries of the Interior and Transportation to study our ability to respond to such disasters. The resultant report—Oil Pollution: A Report to the Pres- ident—concluded that the U.S. was not prepared to deal with a spill of this magnitude. Therefore, President Johnson tasked the secretary of Interior to develop multi-agency con- tingency plans for federal oil and hazardous materials spill response. On November 13, 1968, the president approved the National Multi-Agency Oil and Hazardous Materials Pollution Con- tingency Plan (National Contingency Plan), which coordi- nated federal, state, and local pollution incident response capabilities. The plan provided guidance to develop a sys- tem to prevent, discover, report, restrict, clean up, dispose of, and recover the cleanup costs for pollution incidents. From Oil to Anthrax The National Strike Force’s long, messy history. by CDR KEITH M. DONOHUE Commanding Officer Pacific Strike Team History and Heritage
  • 14. 15Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings The First USCG Strike Teams By 1973, the USCG established three strike teams: • the Atlantic Strike Team, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina; • the Gulf Strike Team, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; • the Pacific Strike Team, at Hamilton Air Force Base, Novato, California. The three strike teams provided communications sup- port, advice, and expertise in ship salvage, diving, and hazardous substance removal techniques. In the mid 1970s, the National Oceanic and Atmo- spheric Administration and the EPA stood up addi- tional special forces, known as scientific support coordinators, and the USCG and EPA each estab- lished public affairs teams. Each team was available for USCG or EPA on-scene commanders to call upon in need under the authority of the National Oil and Hazardous Pollution Contingency Plan. The First Tests Then in December 1976, the vessel Argo Merchant ran aground off Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, spilling 7.5 million gallons of oil. Although the spill saw a massive response under the NCP, the size of the spill, combined with the harsh weather conditions, exceeded the technological oil recovery capabilities of the time.5 As a result, in March 1977, President Carter recommended specific measures to better control maritime oil pollution, including improved response times and enhanced federal ability to respond to oil pollution emergencies. He also directed the USCG and the EPA to improve their ability to contain and minimize the damaging effects of oil spills. The specific goal was to develop the ability to respond within six hours to a spill of 100,000 tons. In response, the USCG conducted a series of deployment requirement studies, which led to the prescribed six-hour response standard that today’s strike teams still provide. In addition, throughout the 1970s, the strike teams expanded their equipment inventory. For example, personnel devel- oped an air-deliverable anti-pollution transfer system and an open water oil containment system, designed specifi- cally for high seas and strong wind conditions; a fast surface delivery sled for pollution response equipment; and added skimming capability to current methods, which enabled containment and recovery operations to occur simultane- ously. Then, on June 3, 1979, another oil disaster struck, as a blow- out occurred at a well in the Gulf of Mexico. For more than a month, between 10,000 and 30,000 barrels of oil per day were discharged. Although Mexican authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard, and cleanup companies from around the world responded, a huge slick moved toward Texas and ultimately affected its coastline by the end of the summer.6 Chemical Releases of the 1980s The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act In response to growing public awareness regarding hazard- ous waste sites across the country, such as Love Canal in New York, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environ- mental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CER- CLA) on Dec. 11, 1980, to help seal the response gap that previously only provided federal mandates and funding to respond to oil and some hazardous material on navigable waters. CERCLA also established a new fund (the Super- fund) specifically to finance hazardous materials cleanup efforts. As the United States shifted to a more proactive approach, on Dec. 3, 1984, a chemical release from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed more than 2,000 people.7 Subsequently, the following year, back in the United States, a release of aldicarbi oxime occurred at a facility in Institute, West Vir- ginia.8 These incidents heightened the need for emergency planning for major accidental chemical releases. Congress responded, and, on Oct. 17, 1986, passed the Super- fund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, which extensively revised existing CERCLA and mandated A Coast Guard helicopter prepares to hoist people off the tanker SS Argo Merchant, which ran aground off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, December 1976. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s office.
  • 15. 16 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings National Strike Force Significant Events 1 9 7 0 s 1973 Three strike teams established 1974 M/V Metula grounding, Strait of Magellan 1975 Baltimore Harbor oil spill 1975 M/V Showa Maru, Straits of Malacca 1975 Mystery spill, Florida 1975 Edmund Fitzgerald wreck located 1976 M/V Sansinen explosion/oil spill 1977 M/V Argo Merchant oil spill, Nantucket, Massachusetts 1977 M/V Golden Jason, Newport News, Virginia 1977 USNS T/V Potomac oil spill, Greenland 1979 IXTOC No. 1 oil well spill, Bay of Campeche, Mexico 1975 Barge McAllister oil spill, San Juan, Puerto Rico 1981 First Level C entry, chemical facility, Santa Fe Springs, California 1982 First Level A entry, waste processing facility, Escondido, California 1984 M/V Rio Nequin aluminum phosphide explosion, Houston Texas 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger recovery 1988 Atlantic Strike Team disestablished 1989 M/V Exxon Valdez oil spill 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, San Francisco, California 1 9 8 0 s 1983 First CERCLA case, Winchester fire, Winchester, Virginia 1 9 9 0 s 1999 Hurricane Floyd floods, North Carolina 1999 M/V Sergo Zakariadze grounding, El Morro, Puerto Rico 1990 M/V Mega Borg oil spill, Texas 1991 Atlantic Strike Team re-established at Fort Dix, New Jersey 1991 National Strike Force Coordina- tion Center established, Elizabeth City, North Carolina 1991 Public InformationAssist Team merged with NSF 1994 Operation Able Vigil Cuban boat lift 1994 San Jacinto River oil spill, Texas 1996 Cape Mohican, San Francisco, California 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash, off East Moriches, New York 1996 M/V Julie N oil spill, Maine 1997 M/V Kiroshima oil spill, Alaska 1997 Red River flood, North Dakota 1999 Egypt Air Flight 990 crash, off Nantucket, Massachusetts 1999 M/V New Carissa grounding/ oil spill, Coos Bay, Oregon 1990 M/V American Trader oil spill, Huntington Beach, California 1991 Gulf War oil spills, Persian Gulf 1995 Hurricane Opal, Florida panhandle 2 0 0 0 s 2000 Alaska Airlines crash, California 2000 Pepco oil spill, Eagle Harbor, Maryland 2001 9/11 terrorist attacks, New York and District of Columbia 2002 Rouge River oil spill, Detroit, Michigan 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005 Hurricanes Rita and Katrina 2007 Deployable Operations Group established 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill, San Francisco, California 2008 DM932/T/V Tintomara collision, New Orleans, Louisiana 2009 Caribbean Petroleum explosion, San Juan, Puerto Rico 2009 M/V Mar-Gun grounding, Aleutian Islands, Alaska 2009 Ex U.S.S. Chehalis salvage, American Samoa 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia recovery, Texas and Louisiana 2004 Athos 1 oil spill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 16. 17Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings 2 0 1 0 s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill 2010 F/V E.S.S. Pursuit mustard canister recovery, New Bedford, Massachusetts 2011 T/V Montebello salvage, Monterey, California 2011 Tsunami, Japan 2012 Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey 2012 T/V Jireh grounding, Puerto Rico 2013 U.S.S. Guardian salvage, Philippines 2013 Molasses discharge, Honolulu, Hawaii 2013 Deployable Operations Group devolution, NSF becomes an Atlantic Area unit 2013 Public Information Assist Team transitions to Incident Management Assistance Team 2014 Freshwater Tissue Paper Mill hazmat removal, Samoa, California 2014 Operation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Department of Defense support that the National Oil and Hazardous Pollution Contingency Plan again be revised. Additionally, the act required that all releases of hazardous substances be reported to state and local emergency planning officials. SARA also provided mechanisms for citizens and local governments to access hazardous chemical information from facilities in their communities and mandated local emergency planning committees and local emergency response plans. USCG Response CERCLA and SARA also significantly increased Coast Guard and EPA OSC respon- sibilities for response to hazardous substances and established a new realm of response for the special forces. USCG policy established the level of hazardous substance response capability within a USCG FOSC’s area of responsibility, based on the risk of chemical release and the availability of commercial, state, local, and other federal response capabilities. Follow-on studies showed that USCG marine safety offices were not adequately staffed or funded to maintain their own response equipment; therefore, they were instructed to utilize the strike teams for hazmat entries as necessary. To meet the increased tasking, the National Strike Force procured state-of-the-art chemical response equipment and instituted a rigorous hazardous substance training program for all NSF personnel, as, compared to oil spills, hazardous substance release response requires much more caution, technical expertise, and training. In 1984, the USCG FOSC in Houston, Texas, relied on the NSF when a container full of aluminum phosphide canis- ters on a vessel exploded—filling the cargo hold with toxic fumes. Then in 1985, the USCG captain of the port in San Francisco called upon the Pacific Strike Team (PST) when a drum containing insecticide was suspected of leaking inside a container on an inbound ship. The PST—the only resource available to board the ship at sea and make an entry into the hazardous material environments—conducted a hazard assessment and stabilized the container.9 Continuing response coordination efforts, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule on June 30, 1993, mandating departments to use the Incident Command System (ICS) for all hazardous materi- als incidents. This was the first ICS appearance in federal regulation, and it changed the way the NSF did business. USCG units and the National Strike Force adopted ICS, strike team personnel became ICS instructors, and the ICS spread to the rest of the Coast Guard. Workers steam blast rocks soaked in crude oil from the leaking tanker Exxon Valdez. U.S. Coast Guard photo. 2012 Paulsboro train derailment, Paulsboro, New Jersey National Strike Force Significant Events
  • 17. 18 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings events exceeded the capabilities of state resources, National Response Team members responded under the NCP, consid- ering anthrax a pollutant or contaminant in accordance with the definition under CERCLA. Under that definition, the NSF was deployed for both the September 11th attacks and the anthrax events that followed to implement ICS structures, perform on-site air monitor- ing, assist with sampling and health and safety support, and to establish wash-down stations for rescue workers at the World Trade Center; on Capitol Hill; in Boca Raton, Florida; and at other anthrax response locations. Following 9-11, the NSF has increasingly been deployed to national security events such as Winter Olympics and Super Bowls and other national special security events to be on standby for potential biological or chemical mass casualty events. Notwithstanding the traditional statutory NCP pollution preparedness and response roles, which utilize the array of support functions the NSF provides as a special team for federal OSCs, the NSF now has a new WMD and terrorism consequence management role. About the author: CDR Keith M. Donohue is the commanding officer of the Pacific Strike Team. His previous assignments include Coast Guard Activities Europe; MSU Port Arthur, Texas; Coast Guard headquarters, Environmental Stan- dards Division; and MSO Providence, Rhode Island. He holds an M.S. in marine affairs and a B.S. in chemical oceanography. Bibliography: Hearings before the Committee on Public Works House of Representatives Ninety First Congress First Session on H.R. 4148 and Related Bills to Amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, (February 26, 27; March 4, 5, 6, 1969), Serial No. 91-1. Oil Pollution: A report to the President, a report of a special study requested by President Johnson by the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Transportation, February 1968. Oil Pollution, Hearings before the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House of Representatives, Ninety-First Congress, First Session on H.R. 6495, H.R. 6609, H.R. 6794, and H.R. 7325, Bills to Amend the Oil Pollution Act, 1924, for the Purpose of Controlling Oil Pollution From Vessels, and for other purposes, (Febru- ary 25, 27, March 11, 12, 13, 18, 26, 27, 28, April 1, 1969); Serial No. 91-4. National Multi-Agency Oil and Hazardous Materials Pollution Contingency Plan. Endnotes: 1. See www.nmmc.co.uk/index.php?/collections/featured_pictures/remember- ing_the_torrey_canyon_disaster. 2. The Department of Interior, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the Office of Emer- gency Planning. 3. Available at www.geog.ucsb.edu/~kclarke/Papers/SBOilSpill1969.pdf. 4. See www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001451.html, for a list of oil spills and disasters. 5. See 40 FR 12658. 6. Federal register, Vol. 45, No. 55, Wednesday, March 19, 1980, p. 17832 -19833, and Franklin, B. Toxic Cloud Leaks at Carbide Plant in West Virginia. New York City: The New York Times, August 12, 1985. 7. Jasanoff, S. (1994) Learning from Disaster: Risk Management After Bhopal. University of Pennsylvania Press. 8. The National Response Team: 1989 Annual Report, Annex D, p. 66. 9. Storch Jr., and Captain R. L. Report of a National Strike Force Study; Commandant G-MER ltr, March 15, 1990. U.S. Coast Guard: NSF Study Itr’16450 of: 29 Jan 90. 10. See www.uscg.mil/history/. 11. P.L. 93-288 as amended by P.L. 100-707; Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121, et seq.). OPA 90 Exxon Valdez Between 1989 and 1990, several large oil spills created, yet again, new focusing events for the NCP. First, in March 1989, the most notorious oil spill to hit the U.S. occurred when the tank vessel Exxon Valdez grounded off the coast of Prince William Sound, Alaska. The spill discharged approximately 11 million gallons of oil and affected approximately 1,300 miles of coastline. The response ultimately involved more than 10,000 workers during a four-year period.10 In response, after 15 years of unsuccessful attempts to pass similar legislation, the House and Senate unanimously passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), which expanded federal removal authority, added federal on-scene coordinator responsibilities, and broadened coordination and preparedness planning requirements. OPA 90 also directed developing a national planning and response sys- tem that would include tank vessel response plans, facility response plans, and area contingency plans—all of which were to be adequate for “worst case” response. The act required the Coast Guard to establish a national response unit to relieve equipment and personnel short- ages and provide spill contingency planning coordination among federal agencies. Specifically, this unit would: • maintain lists of spill response equipment, • provide technical assistance, • coordinate equipment and resources, • assist in preparing area contingency plans, • administer the Coast Guard’s strike teams. Thus, Coast Guard leaders established the National Strike Force Coordination Center (NSFCC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The NSFCC, along with a newly created Coast Guard Public Information Assist Team, and the three Coast Guard strike teams, became the Coast Guard’s new National Strike Force (NSF). Today’s Response Realities 9/11, Anthrax The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pen- tagon on September 11, 2001, and the anthrax events that began in October 2001, tested federal response capabilities in ways they have never been tested before. Shortly follow- ing the September 11 attacks, major disaster declarations under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act triggered full federal response plan imple- mentation and tested federal capabilities nationwide.11 The anthrax events posed different, yet concurrent, tests for federal responders. Although none of the individual anthrax
  • 18. 19Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings The Exxon Valdez In March 1989, that world was stood on its head when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The 311(k) fund balance that day was $6.7 million. Fortu- nately, Exxon Corporation undertook the spill response and quickly repaid all the federal response costs, which eventu- ally came to more than $120 million. This catastrophic event (and expense) engendered thorough Clean Water Act review, focusing most significantly on the adequacy of the 311(k) fund. In response, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), which created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). The OSLTF structure retained the 311(k) fund’s penalty and cost-recovery revenue and added dedicated excise tax revenues of one nickel per barrel of crude oil produced or imported into the United States, and the same amount for any refined petroleum products imported into the United States. Excise tax revenue currently exceeds $400 million each year.1 To the extent Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund monies are not needed for spills, Congress charged the Treasury with investing available OSLTF funds in its own securities. The Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) and the Treasury review these amounts annually. Annual inter- est earned averages $17 to $18 million. Cumulative interest earned since OSLTF creation exceeds $870 million. Changes Under OPA OPA also changed how the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was spent. The 311(k) fund was a revolving trust fund. If funds were available, the federal on-scene coordinator (FOSC) could use them to respond to a spill. If the fund balance fell too low, Congressional appropriations in the annual budget process augmented it. Additionally, while the Clean Water Act allowed spending the 311(k) fund for oil or hazardous materials response, OPA The Clean Water Act/Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (CWA) and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) are arguably the most expansive federal pollution laws. They provide guidance, and, most important for responders, cre- ate a range of response tools to deal with oil and hazardous materials spills on U.S. waters. Key components include: • an expectation that the spiller is responsible and liable to clean up the spill; • creating the National Contingency Plan and defining federal on-scene coordinator authorities; • creating “special teams,” including the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emergency Response Team; • financing a fund that pays for removals if the respon- sible party does not step forward. The Coast Guard manages this fund, which: • pre-empts the responsible party from using delay as a response option, despite the law; • provides the federal on-scene coordinator the money to quickly hire private response companies if the responsi- ble party does not act or if the spill’s origin is a mystery. Funding Response The 311(k) fund, named for the CWA section in which it appears, was used in its first year and during responses to a significant number of oil spills by 1973, engendering much growth in the spill response industry. In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmen- tal Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and its attendant fund, commonly referred to as “Super- fund,” to pay for response to chemical spills and hazardous waste sites. Thus was born a dual-fund world: CERCLA/ Superfund for hazardous materials, pollutants, and con- taminants and 311(k) for oil. The Oil Spill Response Fund Four decades of success. by MR. ALLEN R. THURING Senior Financial Analyst Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center History and Heritage
  • 19. 20 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings restricted Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund use to strictly oil incidents. OSLTF provides three spending vehicles: • an emergency fund, • a claims fund, • annual Congressional appropriations to the agencies charged with implementing OPA. The Emergency Fund The emergency fund pays for oil spill responses. It is an annual appropriation of $50 million, which remains avail- able until expended. Amounts that are unused at the end of the fiscal year are automatically carried forward to the next fiscal year and added to the new $50 million appropriation. In addition to the annual automatic appropriation, Con- gress amended OPA to allow the Coast Guard to request an advance of up to $100 million in any year, when response costs exceeded the emergency fund’s available balance. In 2010, Congress further amended this provision for the Deep- water Horizon spill response to allow the Coast Guard to make unlimited $100 million advances to the emergency fund, as long as there were sufficient available funds in the overall Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The Claims Fund The claims fund is a permanent indefinite appropriation that is not subject to Congressional appropriation. This fund can Historical Data Year Incidents Removal Funds Obligated/Expended 1972 Data not available $1,180,547 1973 Data not available $9,439,340 1974 Data not available $4429964 1975 Data not available $7974507 1976 Data not available $15,318,823 1977 Data not available $8,643,653 1978 Data not available $9,922,986 1979 Data not available $18,741,710 1980* Data not available $25,197,136 1981 Data not available $19,745,356 1982 Data not available $3,754,490 1983 369 $1,941,534 1984 400 $3,965,934 1985 305 $4,447,173 1986 338 $9,422,180 1987 278 $3,924,246 1988 198 $1,429,278 1989 235 $35,508,608 1990 324 $14,985,057 1991** 304 $14,080,636 1992 437 $8,276,922 1993 488 $13,465,182 1994 514 $49,701,236 1995 531 $25,963,431 1996 576 $31,066,127 1997 559 $29,161,042 1998 624 $33,137,823 1999 743 $40,034,938 2000 646 $50,527,350 2001 909 $77,924,921 2002 493 $59,975,180 2003 547 $41,625,976 2004 504 $43,087,052 2005 482 $50,760000 2006 447 $51,942,000 2007 425 $47,712,687 2008 475 $41,609,847 2009 418 $45,744,104 2010 398 $241,346,635 2011 399 $273,667,321 2012 402 $178,380,025 2013 342 $94,579,524 *Passage of CERCLA ** Passage of OPA 90 Year Number of Claims Paid Total Claims Paid 1993 247 $11,138,129 1994 436 $3,590,347 1995 265 $2,625,552 1996 234 $1,626,517 1997 1292 $4,597,436 1998 598 $3,696,498 1999 507 $10,429,893 2000 601 $2,400,572 2001 311 $16,781,535 2002 299 $7,026,961 2003 480 $24,160,560 2004 239 $7,035,355 2005 222 $13,675,346 2006 180 $16,131,140 2007 157 $3,849,1257 2008 129 $25,554,000 2009 156 $70,830,204 2010 194 $42,288,016 2011 228 $38,190,636 2012 129 $187,765,284 2013 131 $84,636,182
  • 20. 21Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings The USCG NPFC tracks and compiles incident costs and expenditures and then bills responsible parties. If the responsible party does not pay promptly, the NPFC refers the debt to either the Department of Justice or the Depart- ment of Treasury for further collection activity. Currently, the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund accounts receivable bal- ance is more than $289 million. Total cost recoveries to the fund exceed $1.2 billion. Success So does the fund meet the goals set at its inception? Yes, by all measures, it has succeeded. Oil spills on U.S. waters are promptly cleaned up, either by the spiller or through the FOSC/National Contingency Plan structures. The fund also has proven to be eminently scalable, allowing response equally to small, localized spills and also major spills of national significance—most recently the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Most importantly, for more than 40 years, every Coast Guard or EPA FOSC has been able to draw upon the appropriate funds for every oil response. About the author: Mr. Allen R. Thuring is the senior financial analyst at the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center. Since 1983, he has managed Coast Guard oil and chemical response funds. He was the Coast Guard fund manager for the Exxon Valdez response and has been involved with every major oil and chemical spill response since then. He is a former Coast Guard officer and has spent 43 years with the Coast Guard. He holds a B.A. from the Univer- sity of Virginia and an MBA from George Washington University. Endnote: 1. OPA suspended the tax when the OSLTF balance exceeded $1 billion, and Con- gress included a sunset provision that ended the tax on December 31, 1994. Con- gress reinstated this excise tax in 2006 and revised the tax provisions further in 2009. First, Congress removed the upper limit on the OSLTF balance that would suspend excise tax collection. Second, the excise tax was raised to $0.08 per barrel of crude oil produced or imported into the United States, and the same amount for any refined petroleum products imported. In 2017, the excise tax rate increases to $0.09 per barrel, and the excise tax is due to end on December 31, 2017. only pay OPA claims resulting from oil spills when claims were either ignored or denied by the responsible party or for claims from mystery oil spills where no responsible party could be identified. The claims fund limit is essentially the OSLTF available bal- ance when the claim is adjudicated. OPA allows claims for various reasons, but they generally are for unpaid response costs, economic damages, or natural resource damages. OPA does provide two general limits on amounts that can be spent on an incident: • no more than $1 billion can be expended on a single incident, • no more than $500 million can be spent on natural resource damage claims for an incident. The Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center is del- egated authority under OPA to receive and adjudicate all Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund claims, and more than $700 million has been paid out of the claims fund to date. Congressional Appropriations Each year Congress appropriates funds to the Coast Guard, the EPA, and various other federal agencies charged with responsibilities under OPA. The total amount appropriated out of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund varies, but it gener- ally totals around $100 million each year. Congress can and does provide agencies with guidance from time to time on how these appropriated funds are to be used. The Polluter Pays The final major OPA provision affecting the Oil Spill Liabil- ity Trust Fund deals with spiller liability and cost recovery. This is commonly referred to as the “polluter pays” prin- ciple. If the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund must be used for an incident, the responsible party is liable for all the costs that result from the FOSC’s actions, all emergency fund expendi- tures for the incident, and all claims fund expenditures that result from the incident. For more information: All fund statistics courtesy of the Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center. For more information, go to www.uscg.mil/npfc.
  • 21. 22 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The 1970s by Mr. Peter A. Brunk When I first came aboard the strike team, I had no idea what would be involved. I met Atlantic Strike Team (AST) per- sonnel previously, while serving as USCGC Sledge’s com- manding officer. At the time, we used their divers to recover submerged pilings at a lighthouse in Roanoke Sound, North Carolina. Most of AST’s equipment was excess Army and Navy property—boats, motors, cranes, and trucks—then later, as the strike teams did more jobs, they were able to get better equipment. In August 1975, I reported to the Atlantic Strike Team. The teams had just returned from two major oil spill responses: • the tanker Metula, in the Straits of Magellan off Chile, in August 1974; • the tanker Showa Maru, in Straits of Malacca between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, in January 1975. Both ships were VLCCs (very large crude carriers) and both spills resulted from groundings. In each case, the strike teams used an air-deliverable anti-pollution transfer sys- tem (ADAPTS) for pumping operations. Unlike other gear, the Coast Guard developed the ADAPTS, which consisted of pumping systems, towable storage tanks, and a high- seas barrier. Each system could be delivered by parachute in winds up to 40 knots with 10- to 12-foot seas. First Response I went on my first major spill near my hometown in Bal- timore, Maryland, just two weeks after reporting in. Dur- ing a fuel transfer operation, approximately 250,000 gallons of No. 6 oil spilled into in the harbor. We were there for 30 days, recovering product. Four Decades of Response Four NSF team members recall their experiences. by MR. PETER A. BRUNK IMS Environmental MR. MIGUEL L. BELLA U. S. Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center MR. MARK G. GREGORY U.S. Coast Guard District 11 DRAT Equipment Specialist DC1 KEN W. BOND Response Supervisor U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team History and Heritage EM2 John Bishop and CWO Peter Brunk return to the command post after pulling oil containment boom. U.S. Coast Guard photo. The Edmund Fitzgerald In November 1975, the AST executive officer and I left Eliza- beth City, North Carolina, in 74-degree Fahrenheit weather and arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, on the U.S. and Canadian border, in 17-degree Fahrenheit snowy conditions. As an ore ship followed the Edmund Fitzgerald, it disappeared from radar. I went aboard a Navy airplane to look for the wreck. Dur- ing the first pass over the ship’s last known position, we received a contact with a magnetic anomaly detector and, after another pass, I noticed a small sheen. The ship had a diesel bow thruster. We marked it and then went back to Sault Ste. Marie, where the crew’s families were waiting. Later, aboard the CGC
  • 22. 23Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Shark Fin Shoals. I told the mate to get out of the notch, put the hawser on the bow, and pull. We refloated the barge and anchored it in Hooper Straits. I called the helicopter crew at Patuxent River Naval Air Sta- tion to come and pick me up, but we could not go to Eliza- beth City, North Carolina, as it was snowing and blowing a gale, and the helicopter was icing up. When we got back to Patuxent, the helicopter basically fell the last 15 feet onto the runway. It was a rough landing. Shortly after that, a CG helicopter put me on another tanker in heavy ice conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. The tide was flooding, pushing the ship against a dredge spoil area out- side of the channel. We had tugs there pulling, but making no progress. I suggested that one tug proceed close to the ship to relieve the pressure from the ice. As soon as the tug pushed through the ice, the ship rocked and moved about Woodrush, we took a picture of the wreck on the bottom, with an experimental side-scan sonar. Vessel Responses In December 1975, we worked with the Gulf Strike Team when a barge became stranded in the surf line west of San Juan, Puerto Rico. No. 6 oil was pouring out of the barge, and for the next 37 days, we used ADAPTS to pump off the barge. In January 1976, we responded to a grounded vessel in Rodanthe, North Carolina. The vessel had been en route to a scrap yard in Texas, under tow, when the hawser parted during a storm and the ship went on the beach. The ship had a belly full of No. 6 oil in its double-bottomed tanks. We went aboard and set up ADAPTS to pump the product up to the ship’s deep tanks, so it could be refloated. While working this job, we received a call about a possible spill off Virginia’s Eastern Shore. So, I went from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the east- ern shore of Virginia, via CG helicopter, and found 200,000 gallons of No. 6 oil on approximately 20 miles of shoreline. It was a massive cleanup operation, lasting 30 days. We had 900 open-topped drums filled with oil and debris. A friend who served with me on the USCGC Madrona, and I discovered a way to burn the oil.1 In May 1976, a tug near Cleveland, Ohio, was trying to shift from a hawser to pushing and got a line in the screw. Its barge had hit a jetty, and by the time I got aboard, it was sinking. We used a 50-ton steam derrick to hold the barge until we rigged the air-deliverable anti-pollution transfer system. We pumped No. 6 oil from the barge into another barge. There was no cleanup, as it was very rough, and the product dissipated. The Argo Merchant In December 1976, we arrived on the scene of the M/V Argo Merchant, which ran aground on the Outer Nantucket Shoals. The Coast Guard removed the crew and used the USCGC Bittersweet and Spar and Army sky crane helicopters to put ADAPTS and other equipment onboard. There were a lot of problems, due to the weather and the vessel’s location. The ship broke in half three days before Christmas, spilling approximately 7.5 million gallons of No. 6 oil, which dispersed in heavy seas. Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow In January 1977, a helicopter put me on a tug to assist the captain on a barge that ran aground in Tangier Sound, Maryland. The tug was in the notch, trying to back off of The SS Edmund Fitzgerald. Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Oil leaks from a barge. U.S. Coast Guard photo by BMC Bill Lockwood.
  • 23. 24 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings 20 feet. After a few more passes by the tug, the ship refloated with no damage. In February 1978, we flew in a C-130 to Stewart Air Force Base, New York, to respond to a barge taking on water in the Hudson River. It was a bad landing in snow with zero– degree weather. We went to the barge via the CGC Sweetgum and used ADAPTS to stop the barge from sinking. We had a lot of problems, as ice was up to three feet thick on the Hudson River. We used the barge’s engine/pump to remove No. 6 oil and refloated the vessel. The after-rake on an ice-covered barge flooded in January 1978, and the tug put the barge aground at Eatons Neck in Long Island, New York. No. 2 oil was released from the barge but dissipated, as it was very rough. LT Joe Kuchin, BM2 Jim Klinefelter, and I went aboard the barge via the Huntington Bay harbormaster’s boat, and we tightened up some of the hatches and used the barge’s engine to pump off the remaining product into another barge. When this job was finished, we proceeded to Portland, Maine, via C-130, where a coastal tanker ran aground. For- tunately, the tanker was not leaking. It was refloated with no problems and docked in Portland. As soon as the tanker was secured, it started snowing. response, a civilian salvage man actually swam under the engine and put a patch on the hull. Arctic Response In July 1977, the strike teams experienced their first true Arc- tic response when a tanker hit an underwater iceberg and spilled approximately 100,000 gallons of product in Baffin Bay, Greenland, more than 300 miles north of the Arctic Cir- cle. We moved equipment from a Navy facility at Cheatham Annex in Virginia, using a C-5, C-130s, and a C-141 airplane and skimmed from the USCGC Westwind and USNS Mirfak. About the author: CWO4 Peter A. Brunk retired in 1980 with 26 years of Coast Guard service. He served as skipper of the Nantucket lightship from March 1970 to July 1971, and as operations officer for the Atlantic Strike Team from 1975 to 1978. He was skipper of CGC Sledge for the second time when he retired. He now works for IMS Environmental/Hepaco in Norfolk, Virginia. Endnote: 1. In addition to oil and debris, we has tens of thousands of dead ducks. We received an air permit for the burn from the EPA, and used my friend’s stump burner to provide air. The 1980s by Mr. Miguel L. Bella I arrived at the Pacific Strike Team (PST) in the summer of 1980, finding a hangar devoid of any personnel except for the executive officer and the operations/dive officer, as most of the crew and the skipper were off battling an oil spill in Mexico. Working hard and with the help of my teammates, I memo- rized pumping capacities for all the equipment, load weights for pallets used on C-130s, and worked hard to learn my storekeeper job. During one drill, we were outfitted in chemical suits and played basketball until the bottles emptied and the face- masks collapsed into our faces. That drill taught us what it feels like to run out of air and to deal with the situation calmly. I passed my board qualifying as a response member and was finally able to carry my own weight. Soon the team was off and running, fully outfitted with a new “chem van” and lots of equipment. That was the start of PST’s chemical responses. Chemical Response In July 1981, the PST responded to a chemical facility explo- sion in Santa Fe Springs, California. This was the first time we entered a site in Level C personal protection equipment1 and the first time the regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilized the Superfund. As the EPA did not DC2 Bruce Firth leaves a barge after securing loose hatches. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PAC Dale Pucket. During the night, we received a call about a tanker dragging anchor and in trouble in Salem, Massachusetts. The tanker ran aground, putting holes in the engine room and in at least one tank with No. 6 oil. We could not get to Salem, as all roads were closed due to the blizzard, so I spoke with the commanding officer of the CGC Spar, and he said he could take us and our equipment to the tanker. Upon arrival, we put our equipment onboard and started setting up the ADAPTS pumping system. During this
  • 24. 25Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Well, never say “never.” In March, I answered an early- morning page, to find that, sure enough, Miss March had grounded (ironically, in March). I came into my own during the Exxon Valdez response, and learned how to swing loads from Chinook helicopters; fig- ured out the language required to order DOD assets includ- ing C-5A’s; organized check-in and -out procedures for local, federal, and state responders; created forms that captured personnel and equipment hours; and then converted that information into a billable format (used to invoice Exxon directly). Then in October 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake devas- tated the San Francisco Bay area. We were called out to use our pumping capacity to transfer more than 80,000 gallons of gasoline in a Richmond, California, refinery. All told, in 1989 alone, the PST deployed to more than 20 hazmat and oil responses, requiring more than 3,460 man days, and for our efforts, we received the Coast Guard Foun- dation Admiral John B. Hayes Award. About the author: Mr. Miguel Bella served in the Coast Guard for more than 21 years and retired as a chief warrant officer. His assignments included CGC Resolute, two PST tours; plank owner for D11DRAT; CGC Hamilton; and finishing off his active duty in San Pedro, California. During 9/11, he responded as a member of the CG National Pollution Funds Center, where he currently serves as a regional manager in the Case Management Division. Endnotes: 1. See www.cbohsep.org/Libraries/MRC_-_Training_-_Basic_Training/Personal_ Protective_Equipment_and_Decontamination.sflb.ashx. 2. See http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/01/00047/4-05.htm. 3. The highest level of protection. have a way to track cost, I adapted the CG forms to fit the EPA’s requirements. This provided a way to track all finan- cial information for the case and would ultimately lead to the EPA’s system in use today.2 In July 1982, we responded to a waste processing facility in Escondido, Cali- fornia. Battling 107-degree Fahrenheit heat, the PST successfully made its own Level A entry, 3 with no outside sup- port, and categorized and secured a site that had been a community eyesore and health hazard. My teammates and I completed the first PST entry in fully encapsulated chemical suits. I remem- ber being frightened, but I stuck to our training and to the task. As we exited the site and walked through the decon- tamination wash-down, I was glad to breathe regular air again, and I poured about a pint of sweat from each boot. The Right Stuff In March 1982, we were fortunate to have our PST facilities become part of the movie “The Right Stuff,” which focused on test pilots. During filming, the PST crew sometimes par- ticipated as extras. If you rent the movie today, you can see the PST hangar in various scenes, along with great cameo shots of our bathroom. I returned to the Pacific Strike Team in 1987 and found the unit spent about 70 percent of its time on chemical response, 20 percent oil response, and 10 percent on other stuff, includ- ing training and static displays. I was not there but a week, and off I went to assist with an asbestos hazmat site. During the following few years, I deployed to the western states, assisting EPA FOSCs with hazard categorization, cost documentation, and occasionally used my commercial license to drive 18-wheelers and other big rigs. 1989: The Year that Never Seemed to End Early in 1989, we responded to a call for assistance from MSO Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to a storm, the Exxon Houston was in danger of breaking from its fuel moorings. During that response, we noticed an Exxon calendar on the bulk- head. My teammates and I examined the vessels for January, February, and stopped short on March. We looked at each other and agreed that we’d never want to see such an enor- mous vessel in a real response. The Exxon Valdez was fine where she sat—on the calendar. A chemical storage site, Escondido, California, July 1982. SK3 Miguel Bella and MK1 Bill Price, first Pacific Strike Team “Level A” entry. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
  • 25. 26 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings The 1990s by Mr. Mark G. Gregory When I arrived at the Pacific Strike Team in summer 1992, I had no idea what I was getting into. My Coast Guard expe- rience at this point was on an icebreaker, an aids to naviga- tion team, and on a patrol boat. At that time, most crew members were Exxon Valdez vet- erans, and the strike team was all about big equipment. Dracones1 the length of football fields, tractors, and trailers were parked all around the property. On-the-Job Training One of my first jobs at the team was to dispose of a dracone that had been returned from Exxon Valdez that would leak oil when the sun shone. In Novato, California, in the sum- mer, this was every day. So really my first spill cleanup at the PST was in the back yard, where I learned the value of lots of sorbents, secondary containment, and wearing rub- ber gloves. In October 1992, I participated in a large salvage/oil spill drill, in Valdez, Alaska. Here I learned the value of a can of ether, while hand-cranking a prime mover on a frozen pier. In January 1993, the area around Riverside, California, flooded, causing oil wells to leak. We assisted State Fish and Game personnel in contractor oversight during the oil spill cleanup. After this, I finally got to make Level B entries at a chrome plating facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. We pumped all kinds of plating liquids into drums for offsite disposal. The owner had left a 1970s motorcycle on the site, so to keep up our fitness level, we pushed each other around the site on the bike in our Level B equipment. Oil Responses In March 1993, we pumped waste oil from a barge near Antioch, California. The next month, I arrived in Port Arthur, Texas, in the middle of the night and went to work on a barge, skimming oil. This was my first time working for the Gulf Strike Team. They called us “pumpkin heads,” because we wore orange hardhats. They would soon start to call me “Gulf Team West,” because I spent so much time working with them. The next response was a classic example of some of the poor decisions that lead to oil spills. A facility owner cut the top off of his storage tanks for the scrap metal. An ensuing 11-day heat wave caused the asphalt in the tanks to expand and overflow into Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. So we spent the July 4th weekend cleaning up the waterfront. In August 1993, I was in Tampa, Florida, for the response to the collision involving M/V Balsa 37, the tug Seafarer and barge Ocean 255, and the tug Capt. Fred Bouchard and barge No. 155. During this job, we pumped gasoline, deployed boom, skimmed oil, and just generally used most of the oil spill equipment in the strike team inventory. Hazmat Back to California, we worked an asbestos site on the gravel roads of Calaveras County, California. (Who knew asbestos is naturally occurring?) We conducted air monitoring and drove around creating a lot of dust, trying to figure out how much asbestos was in the road material in a potential hous- ing development. We spent a month in Honolulu, Hawaii, in June, collecting paint cans from the bottom of Keehi Lagoon, conducting hazard categorization, and bulking them for disposal. In August, I was in Vancouver, Washington, where a plating facility had a leaking tank that was jeopardizing the city’s water table. We removed the liquids and handed over the damaged part of the tank to EPA investigators for evidence. Back to the Gulf, I was in Houston, Texas, for San Jacinto flood relief. This was huge, as we dealt with flooding, rup- tured pipelines, oil and gasoline spills, and a fire. We devel- oped some great alternate strategies to remove the oil and gasoline from swamps and forested areas, including burn- ing and building weirs to separate oil from water. We also collected orphaned hazardous material and conducted air monitoring. January 1995 started with a bang, when a tug and barge ran aground during a bad storm off Crescent City, California. We worked with a tug to pass a line and get them towed out to sea when the weather subsided. The following month, I went to Denver, Colorado, responding to radioactive and toxic waste in a residential neighbor- hood. We conducted site safety and air and radiation monitoring, while bulking and packing the drums to be shipped off- site for disposal. I had never worked with radiation before, and for the next year I returned to this site several times.DC1 Greg Schultz communicates with Pacific Strike Team members, while aboard a tanker, 1991. U.S. Coast Guard photo by CG Public Information Assist Team.
  • 26. 27Spring 2015 Proceedingswww.uscg.mil/proceedings Endnotes: 1. Flexible containers used to store/transport liquid. The 2000s by DC1 Ken W. Bond In 2000, I received orders to report to the Atlantic Strike Team (AST). I had no science background, knew nothing about environmental work, and thought response was about stopping a boat from sinking. My first year or so at the AST consisted of education and a variety of EPA Superfund cleanup site visits. These deploy- ments varied in their assignments, from making Level B hazmat entries into burned-out warehouses to gauging rail cars. 9/11 Everything changed on the morning of September 11, 2001. I was in Level C personal protective equipment, sampling an acid tank at an abandoned leather tannery in upstate New York, when I heard that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. Two days later, I was standing on top of the Staten Island Landfill at Fresh Kills, New York. My assignment there was to develop a worker safety and air monitoring plan for the sorting operations underway to recover human remains from the debris being removed from ground zero. Flooding In March 1995, the strike force responded to major flooding in Monterey, California. We used National Guard helicopters to find orphaned drums, cylinders, and tanks, which we would collect and bulk the wastes for disposal. We also responded to major flood- ing in the St. Mary’s, Idaho, area in early 1996. Once again, we used National Guard helicopters to find orphaned drums, cylinders, and tanks. We pulled oil tanks and drums out of trees and back yards. In March 1996, we responded to a mystery bird kill in St. Paul, Alaska. We arrived at the Loran station to capture oiled birds, clean them, and take care of the ones that did not survive. The oil came from a passing vessel (later caught in a foreign port). While in Alaska, our mission changed, when a fishing ves- sel ran aground in the middle of the night. We borrowed pumps, hoses, and a tank truck from the locals; built a high- line system; and were able to pump enough fuel off the ves- sel to make it light enough to be towed free. Transitions I left the strike team in 1996 to go to the CGC Cowslip; and, in 1999, I was home sweet strike team home again. Later that year, we responded to a large tire fire in California and provided air monitoring, communications, oil recovery, and all the other things the strike team does on any site. The year ended for me in Pago Pago, American Samoa. During a hurricane in 1991, multiple vessels grounded and although most of the hazards had been removed, now they had started leaking again. We provided support in remov- ing oil and anhydrous ammonia from the grounded vessels. We swam to work every day; and, by the end of the job, we were all great swimmers and experts in diaphragm pumps. In the middle of all these jobs, we found time to learn and then teach the Incident Command System, oil spill and hazmat response, and conduct VOSS, SORS, and lightering drills. I left the team in 2002 and then came back in 2006, as the engineering officer—not bad for a boatswains mate. About the author: Mr. Mark Gregory retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2013 after 27 years. He continues to work in the emergency response industry. Pacific Strike Team and Gulf Strike Team members gather for a picture after completing a successful response, July 1991. U.S. Coast Guard photo by MK1 Fred Valadez.
  • 27. 28 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings No Rest for the Weary With the response to the World Trade Center still in full swing, another event captured the headlines and signaled my next deployment—anthrax. Persons unknown had mailed a letter containing anthrax to a senator in the Dis- trict of Columbia, contaminating the mail room and office buildings around the Capitol, and bringing everything that takes place there to a standstill. Arriving at dusk, I helped establish an entry point and dress-out area to begin sampling offices in the Hart Senate Office Building. I worked the night shift for the next month, supervising more than 100 sampling and evidence collection entries. While entries were taking place, the NSF command element was staffing Incident Command System positions to maintain control of what started out as a panic situation. All of these efforts led to a successful six-month cleanup operation. More Headlines In early February 2003, people watched in horror on national television as the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas. That evening found me in Jasper, Texas, where I supervised 20 collection teams in a volunteered private aircraft hanger, which would soon become the central ship- ment location for all the debris. Then in April, Senate Majority Leader Frist was mailed a letter containing ricin, a highly toxic substance. Again, the National Strike Force responded to our nation’s capital, lead- ing the charge in key ICS positions and leading entries for sampling and decontamination. As with the anthrax case two years before, I drew night shift, but unlike before, we had a deadline. Saturday night, the unified command informed us that the Capitol would re-open Monday morning. The day shift was recalled, all remaining personnel at the Atlantic Strike Team mobilized, and the longest day began. We completely decontaminated the affected areas of the building and a weary crew packed up by 7 a.m. Monday morning. Some crew members worked a 48-hour shift, but we got the job done. The next event would test our oil spill response capabilities, as the tank vessel Athos I struck a submerged object in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spilling 265,000 gallons of heavy oil. When lightering was complete and the ship patched up, I demobilized from the case. Four months later, I again received orders to the Athos response, with marching orders to wrap it up. On my arrival, 1,800 workers were present on the response. During the next three weeks, we reduced the amount of workers to less than 100. From the “you can’t make this stuff up” file, we deployed to New York City to assist the EPA with anthrax cleanup. A gentleman living in Manhattan, who made authentic tribal drums using imported animal hides, had contracted inhala- tion anthrax, prompting the decontamination of his work- shop and apartment. A full AST hazmat team responded. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Hurricane Rita pummeled the Gulf Coast. My assignment for both storm responses was vessel salvage—finding vessels wherever they ended up, cataloging them, finding the owners, and overseeing vessel removal. One vessel, in particular, a 220-foot long Soviet ship, purchased after the cold war, had been sitting idle for decades. This ship was sitting high and dry on a beach with no known owner. I explored this dark ship, mak- ing note of the Cyrillic writing, trying to translate it, so we could remove fuel and oil from the vessel. Eventually the ship was scrapped in place, after we removed more than 100,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil from its bunkers. Petty Officer Kenneth Bond, a damage controlman with the U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team, surveys damaged rail cars in Braithwaite, Louisiana, after Hurricane Isaac. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Elizabeth H. Bordelon.

Related Documents