Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard conduct oil spill response drill in Ketchikan

17th Coast Guard District NewsKETCHIKAN, Alaska – Members of the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards partnered this week to conduct the 15th Canadian U.S. Dixon Entrance oil spill response drill in Ketchikan.

The three-day exercise brought oil spill response professionals, environmental experts and oil spill first responders from the federal, state and industry sectors together to discuss how they would respond to potential pollution incidents in the Dixon Entrance trans-boundary between the two nations.

“This drill provides many benefits to both countries and allows responders to meet with their counterparts to discuss response jurisdictions, equipment, tactics, resources and capabilities,” said Capt. Scott Bornemann, commander Coast Guard Sector Juneau and captain of the port for Southeast Alaska. “It also ensures that we can respond more quickly as a team when incidents occur.”

While exercise participants took part in the event’s various venues, seminars and workshops inside, the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anthony Petit and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Bartlett practiced deploying and operating their on board oil spill response equipment including a Spilled Oil Response System and side skimmers in Refuge Cove five miles north of Ketchikan Wednesday.

Severe weather conditions in Refuge Cove limited the time the two crews had to work with the response equipment and the shipboard exercises were concluded early due to safety concerns.

Although the shipboard portion of the event had to be concluded early, event participants still felt that they were able to benefit greatly from attending the event held bi-annually for the last six years and annually before that.

“This CANUS DIX exercise has been valuable to build on the strong, collaborative relationship that Canadian representatives have with the U.S. Coast Guard and their fellow agencies to prepare for and exercise oil spill management and response for the contiguous waters of Dixon Entrance which is of major importance to both our countries,” said Susan Steele, regional director, Maritime Services Canadian Coast Guard Pacific Region.

The CANUS DIX exercise has been held in Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, B.C., alternately. The two nations also hold a CANUS North exercise in Alaska as well as similar exercises in other U.S. Canadian boundary areas to discuss response efforts in these regions.

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