Coast Guard crews participate in oil spill exercise near Keehi Lagoon

HONOLULU — U.S. Coast Guard crews from around the country participated in the first ever joint Boom Deployment Course here Friday near Keehi Lagoon.

Participants rotated from five different boom stations to practice various oil spill response techniques. The purpose of the exercise was to develop the skill sets of Coast Guard environmental responders.

“The goal of the training is to raise the level of experience in petty officers located here,” said Lt. Stacey Crecy, the Fourteenth Coast Guard District’s response assistance team commanding officer. “This is the first time this type of training has been done in Hawaii with participants that expand from the (U.S.) east coast to Guam.”

The boom techniques included containment, U-shape, diversion, exclusion and shoreline recovery. Boom is a floating barrier used to prevent access or to control debris and pollution.

A sunken sail boat was used in one scenario so participants could deploy boom and learn how to maneuver through obstacles in the water.

Another scenario simulated a land-based oil spill that seeped into a rock wall near a pier. Members waded into the water, drove stakes into the sand with a sledgehammer, and wrapped the boom around the stakes to contain the spill.

“Each scenario has different techniques that prove to be useful for real-life situations,” said Lt. Dan Denham, the deputy chief incident manager at Sector Honolulu’s response division. “It’s good to get everyone familiar with the equipment and ensure it’s inspected.”

Members participated in a Federal On-Scene Coordinator’s Representative Seminar Monday through Thursday. They learned about Coast Guard jurisdiction, funding, contracting, safety and occupational health, and coordinating response.

“We’re trying to raise the bar in our marine science technician’s ability to respond,” said Crecy.

Approximately 35 members throughout the district, including Sector Honolulu, Sector Guam, Marine Safety Detachment American Samoa as well as the Coast Guard Auxiliary joined together to learn from subject matter experts.

Instructors from the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as other government agencies taught the individual classes.

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