Coast Guard conducts oil spill exercise in American Samoa

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Incident Management Division, District Fourteen District Response Advisory Team, and Marine Safety Detachment American Samoa participated in a four-day oil spill response and exercise deployment training last week.

The first two days of the exercise, hosted by Pacific Energy and Clipper Oil in collaboration with Preparedness Services and Training (PST), centered on hazardous waste and emergency response operations (HAZWOPER), qualified individual roles and responsibilities, and incident command systems (ICS).

Day three of the exercise marked the first deployment of oil spill equipment in American Samoa in over four years involving a total of 140 personnel and 17 agencies. The procedure required the utilization of a decontamination corridor, a FastTank portable containment system, and an on-deck crane to deploy a skimmer. The crew of the fishing vessel Miss Lilly successfully deployed 400 feet of inflatable boom to simulate an oil spill collection strategy with a weir skimmer.

The final day of the exercise culminated in an unannounced oil spill exercise. PST presented exercise participants with a scenario involving a fishing vessel that was discharging diesel fuel into Pago Pago Harbor. Exercise participants established a unified command, set up an incident command post and ICS organization, completed proper notifications to partners, and identified environmental and culturally sensitive areas. The crews then deployed a boom with a skimming system, created a unified public message, and ensured the safety of the responders and the public.

“The American Samoa exercise demonstrated the importance of collaboration with partners to protect Pago Pago Harbor,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shannon McGregor, a Marine Science Technician at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “The exercise also supports the Coast Guard’s efforts to increase its presence and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.”

Members from U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment American Samoa are responsible for ensuring that merchant vessels and marine facilities are in compliance with safety standards to make certain that the environment and wildlife in American Samoa are protected.

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