Oil Spill Research Priorities

1484

Oil Spill

The U.S. Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (ICCOPR) has approved the Oil Pollution Research & Technology Plan (OPRTP) for FY2015-2021 and selected 150 priority research needs that should be addressed to improve oil spill management.

The report examines key events, such as Deepwater Horizon, and covers research needs for better understanding of Arctic operations.  M/V Selendang Ayu incident was quoted in the report.  In December 2004, the M/V Selendang Ayu lost power in a storm and grounded on the west side of Unalaska Island, Alaska.  It broke into two and spilled 337,000 gallons of IFO-380 fuel oil, marine diesel, a small amount of lube oil as well as its soybean cargo.

Response measures included employing SCAT and manual shoreline cleanup.  However, in situ burning (ISB) and dispersants were not employed though the danger of an additional release triggered testing.  The cleanup was halted until April 2005 due to deteriorating winter weather conditions.  In the spring, most shorelines were manually cleaned and dry mechanical tilling and berm relocation techniques were used where appropriate.  Response actions continued during the weather-permitting seasons until June 2006.

The inadequacy of response operations in the Arctic environment and the availability of suitable response technologies in cold, icy conditions were understood.  The After Action Review for the M/V Selendang Ayu incident discussed the following specific R&D needs (Wood & Associates, 2005):

  1. Improvement in information sharing, including identification of response equipment and resource availability.
  2. Development of methods to determine the transportation and fate of oil in Arctic waters.
  3. Development of measures of containment for application in Arctic conditions.
  4. Development of technology improvements for Arctic shorelines and weather conditions.

Source: US Coast Guard

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