Public-private partnership enhances Washington’s spill response capabilities

SEATTLE- Members of the Makah, Hoh and Quileute Tribes along with the Quinault Nation are receiving three days of oil spill awareness and response training thanks to efforts and contributions by the Coast Guard’s Thirteenth District, U.S. Department of Interior, State of Washington, Navy Region Northwest, Marine Spill Response Corporation, Global Diving and Salvage, Polaris Applied Sciences, E.C.M. Maritime Services and the shipping and spill response industries in Washington.

Approximately 25 members of the Makah tribe attended the first session of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training the week of Jan. 14 in Neah Bay, Wash. The second, convening the week of Feb. 4, brought an additional 26 students in the Forks, Wash., area together, which included members from the Hoh and Quileute tribes. During the three-day course, participants were provided instruction in the skills necessary to safely serve as spill first-responders and gain an understanding of various spill response strategies.

In addition to the HAZWOPER training, an interactive outreach and discussion session was hosted by several shipping companies: ConocoPhillips/Polar Tankers, ExxonMobil, Alaska Tanker Company, Chevron Shipping and Tesoro; and was led by Polaris Applied Sciences, Inc. This portion of the training allowed tribal members the opportunity to openly discuss their concerns and key issues when strategizing how to respond to oil spills, while promoting the need for preparedness and planning within their community as well as within the oil spill community as a whole.

“The partnership between the Coast Guard, the State and industry is providing valuable training to our local tribes in Washington and enhancing our spill response capabilities in Puget Sound,” said Captain Mark D’Andrea, Thirteenth Coast Guard District, Chief of Response.

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