Coast Guard participates in oil spill containment boom deployment training

Coast Guard District 1 NewsMASSENA, N.Y. — An annual emergency response exercise was held at the Seaway Maintenance Facility here Tuesday that involved a boom deployment training exercise below Snell Lock.

The exercise was a joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

The exercise involved members of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation’s Marine Division, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environmental Services, and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Emergency Measures & Conservation Office, all of which have been designated in their respective emergency response plans to work together in any emergency situation along the St. Lawrence River.
Attendees were given a presentation by the Coast Guard on boom deployment strategies and tactics and a field safety review before setting out to deploy oil boom below Snell Lock.  This exercise was a test of boom deployment in fast water, coordination of different boom assets in the area, and training for boom deployment.

“Pollution response exercises like these allow us to come together to review our agencies’ capabilities, identify any weaknesses and strengthen our partnerships to protect this vital waterway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Carl Kepper, supervisor of Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena.

“These exercises are conducted periodically to train and to improve response actions to emergencies that may take place over water,” said Sal Pisani, SLSDC associate administrator.  “This training also provides local communities with pertinent information on what actions would be called upon during an emergency and strengthens lines of communications between all participants.”

“The SLSDC and U.S. Coast Guard welcome these training opportunities to share with, and to learn from, participating communities. This collaborative effort of federal, state, and Native participants, are essential to provide safety to the river communities and to the maritime industry.”

“This level of cooperation between agencies, including Native governments, is important for the protection of people and the conservation of natural resources,” said Ron LaFrance, tribal chief, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Also participating was the Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, New York State Park Police, and St. Lawrence County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

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