Coast Guard conducts pollution response training in Pensacola Bay

Coast Guard District 8 NewsPENSACOLA, Fla. — The Coast Guard conducted pollution response training for the deployment of the Spilled Oil Recovery System, Wednesday, in Pensacola Bay.

Members from the Eighth Coast Guard District Response Advisory Team, Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team and Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala., deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Mobile, for the exercise, which is aimed at testing and improving the Coast Guard’s ability to assemble and deploy the Cypress’ SORS to recover surface oil from the water after a spill or release.

SORS is an over-the-side, single-ship recovery system, designed to be used on a Coast Guard buoy tender for response to a maritime environmental emergency.

The exercise will coincide with the Cypress’ annual oil-spill response training that will test the crew’s proficiency at operating the SORS equipment.

“This annual training and deployment exercise is required under the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program Guidelines,” said Todd Peterson, Eighth Coast Guard District DRAT. “PREP incorporates the exercise requirements from Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and is ultimately designed to improve response plans and response systems. ”

Each SORS consists of two of the following:

  • A Desmi Floating Terminator Weir Skimmer with control stand to recover the substance;
  • Outrigger;
  • Fast sweep boom to collect spilled substance;
  • Canflex bladders.

Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil Spill, U.S. Congress enacted the OPA 90, which required that all Coast Guard sea-going buoy tenders be equipped with oil skimming systems.

The Cypress was designed and built as a multi-mission platform and carries the oil recovery system onboard. The cutter operates with a crew of 50.

“The Cypress provides a vital resource for the district in both system capabilities and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico,” Peterson said.

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