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View Full Version : Prince William Sound spill response vessel grounded on same reef as Exxon Valdez



Nicholas Carey
12-26-2009, 03:18 AM
As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh!"

:rolleyes:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9421840

A tugboat put in service to help prevent another oil spill disaster in Prince William Sound ran aground on the same reef as the Exxon Valdez 20 years ago in what remains the nation's worst oil spill.

The Coast Guard said Thursday that the 136-foot tug with six crew aboard had just completed an ice survey and was heading back to port in Valdez when it grounded on Bligh Reef. The tug reported the grounding in a radio call at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Two of the tug's fuel tanks were damaged. The tanks contain an estimated 33,500 gallons of diesel fuel, about a quarter of their total capacity.

The Coast Guard said Thursday that it wasn't clear yet how much fuel had spilled but there was a fuel sheen about 3 miles long and 30 yards wide that had drifted away from the vessel. There was no sheen visible around the tug.

An oil response vessel had arrived and was skimming the water near the diesel sheen on Thursday afternoon.

Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr said some amount of fuel remained in the tug's two tanks, but the amount of remaining fuel was not known. A barge was being brought to the scene to prepare off-loading the fuel.

Lt. Erin Christensen said the process of removing fuel from the tanks would begin Thursday night and was expected to take about eight hours. She said an estimate on how much fuel was spilled would have to wait until the remaining diesel was off-loaded

Alaska Gov. Governor Sean Parnell had sharp words for Alaska's oil industry, noting that there had been three "significant" recent spills in the Prudehoe Bay oil fields prior to Wednesday's spill in the sound.

"Frankly, when I saw so many spills in such a short time I was indignant that these spills would occur," Parnell said in a statement. "The spills harm both Alaska's environment and Alaska's reputation for responsible resource development. I let the companies know this was not acceptable."

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska said it was troubling that a spill response vessel "managed to run aground on one of the most well marked and well known reefs in the northern hemisphere."

skuthorp
12-26-2009, 04:43 AM
"Nice evening for boating eh? Hey, didn't the Exxon Valdez go aground somewhwere nea.......................................













OOPS

Phillip Allen
12-26-2009, 09:56 AM
Palin ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdcQ56OpxNE&feature=related ) quits and this results... :)

paladin
12-26-2009, 10:55 AM
It's her fault, she could see the reef from her porch, and she kept a flashlight on it all night so folks could see it. She turned off the flashlight to sell her book.

Paul Girouard
12-26-2009, 11:13 AM
Blame Big Oil and hang the skipper out to dry.

Worked last time...



How about blaming Henry Ford , or the original inventor of the internal combustion engine? Or maybe both thier parental pairs?


No GPS on those tugs? What about blaming the "Rule" about "checking for ice" , seeing thats why they where out in this case.

I'd be willing to blame the skipper of the tug, really. He was , or should have been in charge of his boat. I'm sure he didn't follow at least one written instruction or SOP.

BrianW
12-26-2009, 11:19 AM
Certainly, just like with the Exxon Valdez, the Captain will be responsible even if he wasn't on watch.

The best question I've heard so far, is what happened with the CG monitoring system which is suppose to track vessels in that area?

Paul Girouard
12-26-2009, 11:34 AM
The best question I've heard so far, is what happened with the CG monitoring system which is suppose to track vessels in that area?



Do they have a " Boat traffic control" system in place there?

On a related note a buddy of mine who fished the sound before the spill received a $6,000.00 USD payment about 2 weeks before Christmas. He's been getting payments , hit and miss all these years from "big oil".

BrianW
12-26-2009, 11:36 AM
Exxon finally settled. Not that everyone is happy about it.

TimH
12-26-2009, 01:18 PM
At least it was Alaska and not here...YET.

Captain Blight
12-26-2009, 01:21 PM
Why isn't that f****ng reef buoyed? Wouldn't that seem to be a cost-effective solution to a potentially hugely damaging problem? Wouldn't the cost of maintaining those buoys be a whole lot less than even a tenth of another Exxon Valdez incident? Am I the only one thinking about this? Can't be. Can't be.

pila
12-26-2009, 01:23 PM
Maybe the Coasties enlisted that same guy who ran the tanker aground. An "able-bodied seaman" ??
Maybe a 200-buck GPS would have helped.

Nicholas Carey
12-26-2009, 01:27 PM
Do they have a " Boat traffic control" system in place there?Why, yes, yes, there is. But the location of that particular reef is, cough, cough, well-known.


VTS Prince William Sound

The Vessel Traffic Center is located in Valdez. The Coast Guard has installed a dependent surveillance system to improve its ability to track tankers transiting Prince William Sound and requires these vessels to carry position and identification reporting equipment. The ability to supplement radar with dependent surveillance bridges the gap in areas where conditions dictate some form of surveillance and where radar coverage is impractical. Once the dependent surveillance information is returned to the vessel traffic center, it is integrated with radar data and presented to the watchstander on an electronic chart display. VTS Prince William Sound is required by The Trans- Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act (Public Law 93-153), pursuant to authority contained in Title 1 of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 (86 Stat. 424, Public Law 92-340). The southern terminus of the pipeline is on the south shoreline of the Port of Valdez, at the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company tanker terminal. Port Valdez is at the north end of Prince William Sound, and Cape Hinchinbrook is at the south entrance. Geographically, the area is comprised of deep open waterways surrounded by mountainous terrain.


Homepage: VTS Prince William Sound (http://homeport.uscg.mil/mycg/portal/ep/browse.do?channelId=-18430&channelPage=%2Fep%2Fchannel%2Fdefault.jsp&pageTypeId=13489)

Hwyl
12-26-2009, 01:33 PM
Parnell said in a statement. "The spills harm both Alaska's environment and Alaska's reputation for responsible resource development. I let the companies know this was not acceptable."

This sounds like the old joke where the prostitute finds out a $100 bill is a forgery and she says "Oh no, I've been raped".

BrianW
12-26-2009, 02:50 PM
Am I the only one thinking about this? Can't be. Can't be.

Nope. 99 years ago, the reef was marked for 12 years by the SS Olympia (http://vilda.alaska.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=%2Fcdmg13&CISOPTR=2542&DMSCALE=100&DMWIDTH=600&DMHEIGHT=600&DMMODE=viewer&DMFULL=0&DMX=60&DMY=0&DMTEXT=olympia&DMTHUMB=1&REC=17&DMROTATE=0&x=297&y=86)...

:)

Valdez
12-26-2009, 06:07 PM
There is a light located on the southwest end of Bligh Reef, its FL 4s 59ft9M,
RACON B, It is a fixed tower, drilled into the reef that was installed in 1990.
Why the Pathfinder hit it the USCS and the NTSB will determine after their
investigations are complete. I have been by the light many times.

Tom in Valdez

bruce w
12-26-2009, 06:56 PM
perhaps the racon lit the entire screen up and blinded the skipper,by the time he found his shades bump, easy done ,that would be my story and stick to it.

BrianW
12-26-2009, 07:29 PM
Thanks for the insights Tom in Valdez.

Mad Scientist
12-26-2009, 11:05 PM
There is a light located on the southwest end of Bligh Reef, its FL 4s 59ft9M,
RACON B, It is a fixed tower, drilled into the reef that was installed in 1990.
Why the Pathfinder hit it the USCS and the NTSB will determine after their
investigations are complete. I have been by the light many times.

Tom in Valdez

Perhaps they were on autopilot with a GPS feed, and the reef was a GPS waypoint - and (CRUNCH!!!) there was the reef, just where GPS thought it was...
There was a thread about this sort of thing a while back, with photos.
Just my opinion, of course. The reports should make interesting reading.

Tom

Nicholas Carey
12-27-2009, 12:12 AM
There is a light located on the southwest end of Bligh Reef, its FL 4s 59ft9M,
RACON B, It is a fixed tower, drilled into the reef that was installed in 1990.
Why the Pathfinder hit it the USCS and the NTSB will determine after their
investigations are complete. I have been by the light many times.

Tom in ValdezThey wouldn't have set a GPS waypoint right on the light, rather than offset by a safe amount, would they? Nah, never happen. Not with professionals :rolleyes:

'Course you'd think whover had the wheel might have wondered just a bit about the flashing light dead ahead.

Phillip Allen
12-27-2009, 07:26 AM
does anyone else wonder if this is a problem caused by the deliberate minimizing of crew to save money?

Captain Blight
12-27-2009, 09:46 AM
does anyone else wonder if this is a problem caused by the deliberate minimizing of crew to save money?USCG's cracking down on that a little. Search their website for CEMS, the Crew Endurance Management System. It's a good thing but it's really limiting my job search; I may be forced to relocate to get another tug job. Seattle, maybe, but I've been given to understand there's a glut of out-of-work seamen there too.