Coast Guard tests pollution response equipment near Port Clarence, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Canadian coast guard tested oil recovery skimming equipment in Port Clarence Thursday.

Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR and the Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier deployed a Coast Guard Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System. The deployment demonstrated the VOSS’ capabilities and allowed the crews of both vessels to maintain their proficiency with the system and strengthen the relationship between both services.

“This exercise provided a great opportunity for our crews to compare operating practices and learn from each other, and it supports the key tenets of the Coast Guard’s recently released Arctic Strategy, which are to improve awareness, modernize governance, and broaden partnerships in the Arctic region,” said Cmdr. Matt Jones, chief of prevention, Coast Guard 17th District. “The crew of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier makes regular trips through Alaskan Arctic waters as they sail to the Canadian Arctic each year, and there’s a potential they’ll be nearby in the event of a maritime emergency.”

The U.S. and Canadian coast guards regularly conduct joint oil spill response and recovery exercises near the U.S./Canada border in Dixon Entrance, but this operation marks the first deployment of the VOSS from a Canadian coast guard vessel in Alaska’s Arctic waters. Among other components, the system uses a remote controlled skimmer, submersible pump and inflatable barge to collect oil and small debris from the surface of the water.

Port Clarence was selected as the location for this exercise due to its proximity to the Bering Strait and because its protected waters offer a natural port of refuge.

The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR is a 225-foot oceangoing buoy tender homeported in Kodiak.   Its crew’s missions include aids to navigation, maritime homeland security, maritime environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and domestic icebreaking.

The Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier is a 272-foot light icebreaker homeported in Victoria, B.C.  The vessel’s crew maintains visual aids to navigation and performs buoy tending, search and rescue, science missions, lightstation re-supply, beacon maintenance, radio repeater site maintenance and icebreaking/escorting.

Pictures from the exercise can be viewed at the Coast Guard News Flickr page.

The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR and Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier sail side-by-side during a VOSS equipment test near Teller, Alaska, July 18, 2013. The VOSS system uses a remote controlled skimmer, submersible pump, and inflatable barge to collect oil and small debris from the surface of the water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg)

The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR and Canadian coast guard ship Sir Wilfrid Laurier sail side-by-side during a VOSS equipment test near Teller, Alaska, July 18, 2013. The VOSS system uses a remote controlled skimmer, submersible pump, and inflatable barge to collect oil and small debris from the surface of the water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg)

 

 

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