State alert: Wednesday drill to test oil-spill-response readiness

October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | In Environment, Preparedness, West Seattle news | Comments Off

The state Ecology Department just sent advance word about a drill planned for this Wednesday, off Blake Island on the other side of Puget Sound from West Seattle’s west-facing shores. While Ecology says it’ll be happening on the west side of the island – which would mean, facing Kitsap County – we’re publishing the alert in case unusual boat/aircraft traffic and other sightings catch your eye while participants are heading to and from the site:

Anyone spotting oil skimming vessels, containment boom and other response equipment on the west side of Blake Island in Puget Sound Wednesday Oct. 24 shouldn’t be alarmed.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is testing the ability of six area oil companies to mount a rapid, aggressive and well-coordinated response to a major oil spill in central Puget Sound.

No oil will be discharged during the drill.

Harley Marine Services is sponsoring the multi-party oil spill preparedness drill with its cleanup contractor Marine Spill Response Corp. MSRC is a private, non-profit company supported by oil terminal and shipping company members.

More details, including “who’s participating,” ahead:

The news release from Ecology continues:

MSRC will deploy four skimming vessels, response boats, aircraft, boom and other equipment as part of the simulation.

Representatives from Ecology will be out on the water to observe and evaluate the Oct. 24 exercise. The drill will test how well the companies can work together to keep oil out of nearby environmental, economic and culturally sensitive areas and clean up the spill.

Under state law, oil tankers and fuel barges, refineries, liquid fuel pipelines, large oil-handling facilities, commercial cargo and fish-processing vessels and passenger ships must have oil spill readiness – or contingency – plans to operate in Washington.

Larger ships and facilities also must practice their spill contingency plans in addition to regularly updating them. By participating in the drill, the companies will fulfill part of Washington’s oil-spill preparedness requirements.

In addition to Harley Marine, a Seattle-based tug and barge company that transports petroleum products for oil companies operating in Puget Sound, other participating companies receiving drill credit include:

Alaska Tankers Co. – Operates oil tankers that deliver Alaska crude oil to Puget Sound refineries.

Paramount Petroleum Richmond Beach Asphalt Terminal – Produces and ships paving and industrial asphalts; facility also stores and distributes oil.

Shell Seattle – Fuel storage and distribution terminal located on Seattle’s Harbor Island.

BP West Coast Products – Seattle Terminal – Fuel storage and distribution terminal located on Seattle’s Harbor Island.

Olympic Pipe Line Co. – Interstate liquid fuel pipeline system delivering gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel along a 299-mile corridor from Blaine to Portland.

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