The Unified Command of the Coast Guard, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Cook Inlet Pipeline Company has issued the following statement:
The Unified Command Drift River Terminal Coordination, has approved a draft plan for removal of oil from the Drift River Tank Farm.
The plan includes testing infrastructure and other procedures to protect safety of the responders and the environment.
“We are working with Tesoro to facilitate the availability and arrival of a tanker at Drift River in the next couple of days to draw down the Drift River tanks to safe working level and load out some product from the Granite Point and Trading Bay storage facilities upstream through Drift River,” said Capt. Mark Hamilton, federal on scene coordinator.
A 600-foot Tesoro chartered tanker with an available capacity of approximately 6.3 million gallons is tentatively scheduled to arrive at the Christy Lee loading facility adjacent to the Drift River Terminal on Saturday to begin removing oil from the facility.
The plan is designed to alleviate critical storage level concerns at Trading Bay and Granite Point while limiting the amount of time the oil is at Drift River. This overall draw down will reduce the amount of oil stored along Western Cook Inlet that reduces the potential impact to the environment at all storage locations. The draw down plan also includes procedures to cease oil transfer operations in the event of another eruption from Mount Redoubt.
An Incident Management team of 54 federal, state and industry responders are currently working on the event. Crews have been established to handle debris removal and terminal repair as well as volcano monitoring. The team has identified and is working to pre-stage oil spill response resources and personnel nearby but out of harm’s way.
“The Unified Command is collaborating to reduce the potential for an oil spill from the Drift River Terminal and marshalling in-state and out-of-state resources to help prevent pollution in the event of future volcanic eruptions,” said Gary Folley state on scene coordinator.
Identified oil response resources include skimming vessels, storage tanks and other equipment. Spill response scenarios have been developed. A four-person crew remained at Drift River on Wednesday and continued to move debris and mud. A separate crew of seven assigned to terminal repair has so far remained at Trading Bay due to safety concerns.
“The safety of our crews working at Drift River and the other associated Cook Inlet platforms are our foremost objective,” said Rod Ficken, Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company. “No personnel have been at the terminal without our knowledge and they have had access to the safe haven when held over by weather or ash conditions.”
Redoubt Volcano continued to produce emissions of steam, volcanic gases and minor amounts of ash on Wednesday, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
(Office of Public Affairs, U. S. Coast Guard Seventeenth District: 4/2/09)