Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Crowley Situation Report #2, December 29, as of 5:00pm


Crowley Situation Report #2:

Busby Island Bay Response
Project Plan

SITREP #2- December 29, 2009 @ 1700 hrs

Pathfinder Fuel Transfer

At 1925hrs 28DEC09, the fuel transfer operations from the PATHFINDER to the Petro Star tank farm were completed. Volumes received at the tank farm were gauged by an independent testing company, Caleb Brett.

At 1102 hrs 29DEC09 the Tug PATHFINDER was flat towed by the tug INVADER from the Valdez Petroleum Dock (VPT) to the Valdez Container Dock (VCT) in Port Valdez. The vessel was attended by two line boats and the VALDEZ STAR.

At 1204hrs, the PATHFINDER was moored at the (VCT). The tug is fully boomed and there is a 24 hour security watch aboard.

Emerald Environmental Services began removing the liquid contents of the PATHFINDER dirty oil tank at 1445hrs. The operation will continue with the vessels dirty water tanks, and vessel engine room bilge. Transfer operations are being conducted in accordance with Crowley’s documented procedures. In addition, her fuel tanks, which were previous discharged at the VPT, will be vacuumed stripped of any residual fuel.


As of 1700 today, December 29:
The tug Pathfinder is secured and boomed at the Valdez Container Dock (VCT) in Port Valdez. There is 24 hour security.
Transfer operations continue with Emerald Environmental Services.
Diesel fuel volumes are in final calculations.
An Independent Marine Surveyor is scheduled to visit the vessel on 30DEC09.
Pathfinder Towage
Crowley is in the process of preparing a towing plan for repositioning the PATHFINDER to a repair facility, location not yet determined. The tow plan will be approved by the United States Coast Guard prior to further movement of the vessel.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crowley Situation Report #1 December 28, 2009 as of 1600

Additional Spill Photos

We received the following photos of the diesel spill and recovery efforts. No photo credit was received.




Coast Guard Overflight Video

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew performs an overflight of the tug Pathfinder Dec. 24, 2009, in Prince William Sound. The Pathfinder went aground on Bligh Reef Wednesday evening and the Coast Guard, The Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Conservation, Crowley Marine, Ship Escort Response Vessel System and O'Brien's Group are responding to the grounding. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charly Hengen (via YouTube).

USCG Press Release: Pathfinder response winds down

Press release online has photos from the response: Pathfinder response winds down


VALDEZ, Alaska - The tug Pathfinder was moored at Port of Valdez early Sunday morning after being safely towed from Busby Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Crews will begin to remove fuel from the vessel over the weekend. A limited amount of diesel fuel will remain on board in order to power ship systems while the vessel’s damage is more fully assessed.

The results of the today’s observation flight did not indicate any sign of fuel spilled during the vessel’s transit to Valdez. Crews are decontaminating boom and recovered fuel storage tanks so they can be returned to standby service in local oil spill response inventories.

The Unified Command is maintaining oversight of the operations as crews shift from recovery of the Pathfinder, to equipment clean up and the damage assessment of the tug. The response will transition to project status at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Crowley remains focused on removing the diesel fuel remaining on the vessel,” said Jim Butler, Crowley information officer. “Once the fuel has been removed, Crowley will conduct a detailed damage assessment of the vessel.”

“Response crews worked long hours during some of the shortest days of the year,” said Steve Russell, environmental specialist with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. “Crews conducted their work with the highest priority on safety and environmental protection.”

The incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard. Crowley is cooperating fully with the investigation while decontaminating the vessels and equipment used and demobilizing resources. Results will be available upon completion of the investigation.

Editors note [USCG's editor]: The Joint Information Center for the Pathfinder response will be standing down at 6 p.m. Sunday. Media should direct specific inquiries to individual agency or company representative.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Updated ADEC Situation Report

ADEC has updated its incident notification page for the Pathfinder grounding. Use this link to access updated situation reports throughout the response. A situation report for December 27, 2009 at 3:00pm is now available. Please note, the next situation report will be released from ADEC as the situation warrants one necessary.

Update on Pathfinder Tug

The Pathfinder tug made it to the dock in Valdez at 0040 this morning (Sunday, December 27). The plan was for the tanks will be measured and then decontamination and demobilization. The Pathfinder is at the Petrostar dock (see photos below). The Valdez Star unloaded the lightered fuel to Petrostar last evening.




PWSRCAC President Steve Lewis comments in ADN article

Council president Steve Lewis talked to the Anchorage Daily News this weekend about the Pathfinder grounding, discussing questions that still need to be answered about the incident.

From the article: ""We will be pursuing the 'why' and the 'how' in order to come up with the 'what' to make sure it doesn't happen again," Lewis said."

More from the Anchorage Daily News: Damaged tug towed slowly from Bligh Reef to Port Valdez

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Presentation Prepared by Crowley and ADEC for the December 26, 2009 Regional Stakeholder Committee Meeting (1 of 3)

PWSRCAC participated in today's Regional Stakeholder Committee meeting. Following is the presentation delivered at that meeting (slides 1 through 3).




Presentation Prepared by Crowley and ADEC for the December 26, 2009 Regional Stakeholder Committee Meeting (2 of 3)

PWSRCAC participated in today's Regional Stakeholder Committee meeting. Following is the presentation delivered at that meeting (slides 4 through 6).




Presentation Prepared by Crowley and ADEC for the December 26, 2009 Regional Stakeholder Committee Meeting (3 of 3)

PWSRCAC participated in today's Regional Stakeholder Committee meeting. Following is the presentation delivered at that meeting (slides 7 through 11).





Updated ADEC Situation Report

ADEC has updated its incident notification page for the Pathfinder grounding. Use this link to access updated situation reports throughout the response. A situation report for December 26, 2009 at 3:00pm is now available.

Updated Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (as of 12/26 at 1420)

Initial Call @ 1814

Call into CMS @ 1830

***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***

Position when grounded:

60-50.393N

146-52.942W

12/23/2009-Wednesday

1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef

1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock

1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)

1845 Looking to ID source

1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak

1845 Pathfinder off reef

1938 Stephen Wilson-activated

O’Brien’s & Chadux

O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS

1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star

1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200

1945 Pathfinder anchored

2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300

2015 R & R Divers activated

2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready

Diver activation-2hr

ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs

2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message

2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms

2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)

2147 Invader on scene

Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal

2211 Valdez Star on scene

1 APSC Response Coordinator

2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130

R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday

0030 Alert ETA 0230

1900 ft CSI Boom

4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)

Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)

4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator

For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)

0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By

0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)

0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage

0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene

R & R Diving ETA Port 0630

0600 Safety/Pre-ops briefing-discussed mission for fishing vessels w/captains

0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed

Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender

Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster

Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster

Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender

Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System

Lucky (Bill Copeland)

0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed

Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)

0700 Weather-5 knots NE calm light rain

Pathfinder at anchor in Busby Island Bay

Zero witnessed sheen or oil on surface

0730 Alaska Challenger returns to port

0805 Boom deployment complete

0900 ETA Chadux Chartered Flights

0930 Mark Delozier over flight-chartered SERVS helo

0940 Endurance ETD Port (ETA Busby 1215)

Current Buster

Mini Barge

Wilden (diaphragm) Pump

Parastatic Pump

1000 ft suction/50 ft discharge

0958 Weather Report-Bligh Reef winds out of 010 degrees true 16 knots gusting 18 knots

1000 Endurance tasked to investigate sheen

1015 helo over flight reported 3 miles long sheen approx 1-1 ½ mile off Glacier Island between Finski Point and Bullhead-grey rainbow sheen mix

1115 Chadux Charter Plane (1st plane) arrives

1130 (approx time) Valdez Star skimming the area

1158 Chadux Charter Plane (2nd plane)-Fly Over Flight arrives

1200 Coast Guard helo fly over

1237 Walt Tague proceeds as Incident Commander

1300 Journey departure to Busby Island w/8 Chadux personnel

1300 Over flight-SERVS helo

1330 Unified Command Meeting

1410 Coast Guard C-130 reports sheen has diminished in size

1700 Tow Plan/Transit Plan Teleconference w/Coast Guard

1730 Captain Ted Chambers arrives relief of Pathfinder Captain

TBD Lighter approx 8 hrs after prep and Coast Guard approval

1800 Prep for lightering

1830 Journey u/w to port

1900 Mike Huisingh (Port Engineer), Rich Hendren (Director, ESQA Alaska) and Ted Chambers (Captain) departure to Busby Bay

1925 Coast Guard gives provisional approval (subject to discussed changes) of Transfer & Transit Plan

2000 ETA F/V Bartender & F/V Wits End Busby Bay

12/25/09-Friday

0034 Lightering started-3 center fuel tank

0045 Lightering stopped

Sheen in boomed area

0745 Kimberlin’s Cat u/w to Valdez

1000 SERVS fly over (max 50ft)

Sheen south of vessel

Sheen w/w boomed area

Vessel discharging sheen

1010 Coast Guard over flight

1300 Lightering Plan Revised by Coast Guard

1530 Sawmill Creek arrives at Busby Island

1605 Lightering resumes

3 Center Tank flow strong

1837 3 Center Lightering complete

1853 2 Tier Boom in place and anchored

1915 Lightering started-2 center

2113 Lightering stopped-2 center

Diesel from 3C=18,937

Diesel from 2C=17,120

Water from both=13,300

Total=49,357

12/26/09-Saturday

0700 Morning Briefing

0700 No visible sheen w/in boom

0915 Report of burp of fuel w/in boom (approx 1 gal)

Deployed drum skimmer & absorbs

0930 SERVS helo over flight w/Steve Hood (SERVS)

1000 Tow Plan Revision 1

1055 Waste Mgt plan approved

1218 Coast Guard Cutter Long Island arrives to Busby Island

1302 2 Coast Guard personnel onboard Pathfinder-move to Invader before transit

1340 Transit brief

1400 Weighing Anchor

1404 Pathfinder/Invader u/w to Valdez (5hr transit time)

Updated Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (as of 12/26 at 1245)

Initial Call @ 1814

Call into CMS @ 1830

***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***

Position when grounded:

60-50.393N

146-52.942W

12/23/2009-Wednesday

1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef

1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock

1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)

1845 Looking to ID source

1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak

1845 Pathfinder off reef

1938 Stephen Wilson-activated

O’Brien’s & Chadux

O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS

1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star

1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200

1945 Pathfinder anchored

2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300

2015 R & R Divers activated

2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready

Diver activation-2hr

ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs

2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message

2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms

2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)

2147 Invader on scene

Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal

2211 Valdez Star on scene

1 APSC Response Coordinator

2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130

R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday

0030 Alert ETA 0230

1900 ft CSI Boom

4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)

Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)

4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator

For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)

0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By

0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)

0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage

0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene

R & R Diving ETA Port 0630

0600 Safety/Pre-ops briefing-discussed mission for fishing vessels w/captains

0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed

Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender

Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster

Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster

Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender

Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System

Lucky (Bill Copeland)

0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed

Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)

0700 Weather-5 knots NE calm light rain

Pathfinder at anchor in Busby Island Bay

Zero witnessed sheen or oil on surface

0730 Alaska Challenger returns to port

0805 Boom deployment complete

0900 ETA Chadux Chartered Flights

0930 Mark Delozier over flight-chartered SERVS helo

0940 Endurance ETD Port (ETA Busby 1215)

Current Buster

Mini Barge

Wilden (diaphragm) Pump

Parastatic Pump

1000 ft suction/50 ft discharge

0958 Weather Report-Bligh Reef winds out of 010 degrees true 16 knots gusting 18 knots

1000 Endurance tasked to investigate sheen

1015 helo over flight reported 3 miles long sheen approx 1-1 ½ mile off Glacier Island between Finski Point and Bullhead-grey rainbow sheen mix

1115 Chadux Charter Plane (1st plane) arrives

1130 (approx time) Valdez Star skimming the area

1158 Chadux Charter Plane (2nd plane)-Fly Over Flight arrives

1200 Coast Guard helo fly over

1237 Walt Tague proceeds as Incident Commander

1300 Journey departure to Busby Island w/8 Chadux personnel

1300 Over flight-SERVS helo

1330 Unified Command Meeting

1410 Coast Guard C-130 reports sheen has diminished in size

1700 Tow Plan/Transit Plan Teleconference w/Coast Guard

1730 Captain Ted Chambers arrives relief of Pathfinder Captain

TBD Lighter approx 8 hrs after prep and Coast Guard approval

1800 Prep for lightering

1830 Journey u/w to port

1900 Mike Huisingh (Port Engineer), Rich Hendren (Director, ESQA Alaska) and Ted Chambers (Captain) departure to Busby Bay

1925 Coast Guard gives provisional approval (subject to discussed changes) of Transfer & Transit Plan

2000 ETA F/V Bartender & F/V Wits End Busby Bay

12/25/09-Friday

0034 Lightering started-3 center fuel tank

0045 Lightering stopped

Sheen in boomed area

0745 Kimberlin’s Cat u/w to Valdez

1000 SERVS fly over (max 50ft)

Sheen south of vessel

Sheen w/w boomed area

Vessel discharging sheen

1010 Coast Guard over flight

1300 Lightering Plan Revised by Coast Guard

1530 Sawmill Creek arrives at Busby Island

1605 Lightering resumes

3 Center Tank flow strong

1837 3 Center Lightering complete

1853 2 Tier Boom in place and anchored

1915 Lightering started-2 center

2113 Lightering stopped-2 center

Diesel from 3C=18,937

Diesel from 2C=17,120

Water from both=13,300

Total=49,357

12/26/09-Saturday

0700 Morning Briefing

0700 No visible sheen w/in boom

0915 Report of burp of fuel w/in boom (approx 1 gal)

Deployed drum skimmer & absorbs

0930 SERVS helo over flight w/Steve Hood (SERVS)

1000 Tow Plan Revision 1

1055 Waste Mgt plan approved

1230 ETA Coast Guard Cutter Long Island arrives to Busby Island

Friday, December 25, 2009

Updated ADEC Situation Report

ADEC has updated its incident notification page for the Pathfinder grounding. Use this link to access updated situation reports throughout the response. A situation report for December 25, 2009 at 3:00pm is now available.

ADEC Incident Notification Page

ADEC has released its incident notification page for the Pathfinder grounding. Use this link to access updated situation reports throughout the response.

Situation reports for December 24, 2009 at 10:00am and December 24, 2009 at 3:00pm (corrected as per the ADEC page) have been released so far.


PWSRCAC Press Release Regarding Pathfinder Incident

Tug grounding raises troubling questions, reinforces lessons of Exxon Valdez spill

Steve Lewis, president of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, today issued this statement on the Dec. 23, 2009, grounding of the ice scout tug Pathfinder on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound

Like most Alaskans, we at the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council are baffled as to how the Pathfinder managed to hit perhaps the most famous navigational hazard in the worldBligh Reefin conditions of relatively mild weather.

While many of the facts surrounding this grounding are not yet available, it seems at first blush to raise serious questions about the safety of oil industry operations in the Sound, and about how well the painful lessons of the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 have been learned by todays mariners. The Exxon tanker also hit Bligh Reef, spilling an estimated 11 million gallons of North Slope crude oil into the Sound on March 24, 1989.

Among the questions raised by the Pathfinder grounding:

Why did the crew of the tug not realize their peril, from radar readings, from visual observations, or from basic navigational awareness, in time to avert the accident?

Why did the Coast Guards Vessel Traffic Center in Valdez, with its radar systems and other equipment, not detect the danger in time to warn the tugs crew?

While environmental damage from the spill that resulted from this grounding appears to have been minimalin considerable part because the product spilled was diesel fuel rather than crude oilit nevertheless serves as a warning that we can never forget the lessons that the Exxon spill 20 years ago taught Alaskans, the oil industry, and its regulators in Prince William Sound:

* Constant vigilance is the price of safety. In an operation involving the transport of hazardous petroleum products through a beautiful natural environment, there is never a single moment when any individual or organization can relax and assume the system is safe because there hasnt been an accident lately.

* Backup systems are indispensable, and they need to be in place and operating. The Coast Guard radar center in Valdez is one of the backup systems in the Prince William Sound oil trade, but it does not appear to have been of any assistance in this incident.

* Another backup system involving mitigation of the iceberg risk in Prince William Sound was inoperative at the time of this incident. That system was the iceberg detection radar system that was installed on Reef Islandwhich overlooks Bligh Reefseveral years ago after much expenditure and effort by our council, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., and the Coast Guard. This system scans westward from Bligh Reef to detect icebergs from Columbia Glacier emerging into the tanker lanes from Columbia Baythe same function performed by ice scouts like the Pathfinder. Unfortunately, this system has been inoperative since late summer, after a Coast Guard upgrade to its own system on Reef Island took the iceberg detection radar system offline. This radar can detect icebergs in weather too dark or too foggy to permit reliable visual detection by human observers and thus can be a valuable adjunct to ice scout vessels or even make a scouting trip unnecessary if the radar detects very heavy accumulations of icebergs in the tanker lanes, though that was not the case in the Pathfinder grounding. Thus, the council believes it is of paramount importance to restore this system to service and has been working with Alyeska and the Coast Guard to that end.

Our council was set up to make sure that the complacency that allowed the Exxon Valdez disaster to occur never reasserts itself. That is the main reason we have been working so hard to preserve another crucial backup system in Prince William Sound: the system of double escort tugs to escort loaded oil tankers through the Sound. Our group is now lobbying Congress for federal legislation to preserve the double escorts so that, if another tanker should someday go astray and head for Bligh Reef, backup will be close at hand to prevent another catastrophe like the one in 1989.

Whatever the final cause of the Pathfinder grounding is determined to be, we hope this incident will serve as a forceful reminder to the oil industry and its regulators that complacency never sleeps, so humans must never let down their guard in Prince William Sound.

Steve Lewis is president of the board of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, where he represents the city of Seldovia. The council is an independent non-profit corporation whose mission is to promote environmentally safe operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and the oil tankers that use it. The council's work is guided by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and its contract with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. The council's 18 member organizations are communities in the region affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, as well as aquaculture, commercial fishing, environmental, Native, recreation, and tourism groups. More information about the council is available at www.pwsrcac.org on the Internet.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Updated Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (as of 12/24 at 1927)

Initial Call @ 1814

Call into CMS @ 1830

***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***

Position when grounded:

60-50.393N

146-52.942W

12/23/2009-Wednesday

1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef

1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock

1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)

1845 Looking to ID source

1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak

1845 Pathfinder off reef

1938 Stephen Wilson-activated

O’Brien’s & Chadux

O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS

1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star

1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200

1945 Pathfinder anchored

2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300

2015 R & R Divers activated

2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready

Diver activation-2hr

ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs

2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message

2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms

2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)

2147 Invader on scene

Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal

2211 Valdez Star on scene

1 APSC Response Coordinator

2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130

R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday

0030 Alert ETA 0230

1900 ft CSI Boom

4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)

Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)

4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator

For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)

0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By

0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)

0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage

0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene

R & R Diving ETA Port 0630

0600 Safety/Pre-ops briefing-discussed mission for fishing vessels w/captains

0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed

Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender

Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster

Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster

Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender

Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System

Lucky (Bill Copeland)

0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed

Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)

0700 Weather-5 knots NE calm light rain

Pathfinder at anchor in Busby Island Bay

Photos from USCG Flyover taken at approximately 1200 today (12/24)





USCG Press Release: Coast Guard continues coordination efforts on Bligh Reef grounding

USCG Press Release (includes photos, time of post not available):

VALDEZ, Alaska – Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and MH-60 helicopter crews from Air Station Kodiak conducted over-flights Thursday of the diesel spill in the vicinity of Bligh Reef.

The tug Pathfinder went aground on Bligh Reef Wednesday evening creating a light grey or silver diesel sheen spanning an area approximately three miles long and 30 yards wide approximately one mile east of Glacier Island.

Projections from both the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration along with the Ship Escort and Response Vessel System concur that the sheen is not predicted to go ashore Glacier Island over the next 24 to 36 hours and is rapidly dissipating.

This afternoon’s over-flight images show the sheen to be light. The Valdez Star, an oil recovery vessel, continues to use oil skimmers to recover as much diesel as possible. The fuel is difficult to recover due to the light nature of the sheen. The diesel that is not recovered will dissipate naturally with wind and tidal action.

The unified command center consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Conservation and Crowley Marine Services, Inc. are planning to remove the remaining fuel from the Pathfinder Thursday evening and is expected to last approximately eight hours. Following the lightering, the tug is scheduled to return to Valdez for a more comprehensive damage assessment. It will be escorted by spill response resources in case any sheening is detected while transiting to Valdez. A more accurate amount of diesel fuel lost will be available.

Flyover Video Footage of Pathfinder

Raw video footage is available online from a flyover KTUU Channel 2 did of the tug Pathfinder.

USCG Press Release: Unified Command established for Pathfinder grounding

VALDEZ, Alaska - The Coast Guard, State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Crowley Marine Services have established a unified command and are working jointly to address the environmental impact and response efforts concerning the grounding of the tug Pathfinder Wednesday evening.

The establishment of a unified command is a way for agencies that share overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities for an event and can manage the response from a single command post. A unified command allows agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional authorities and responsibilities to work together effectively without affecting individual agency authority, responsibility, or accountability. Under a unified command, a single, coordinated action plan will direct all activities. The incident commanders will supervise a single command and general staff organization and speak with one voice.

Currently, the Coast Guard Cutter Long Island is on scene. Two Coast Guard Aircraft, a C-130 and an MH-60 helicopter have arrived to get aerial views of the situation.

The Valdez Star, an oil response vessel is skimming the water in the vicinity of the light silver diesel sheen. The sheen is 1 to 1.5 miles east of Glacier Island and is approximately 3 miles long and 30 yards wide.

The tug Pathfinder is still anchored and boomed off south of Busby Island. The vessel is no longer sheening and plan developments to lighter the tug Pathfinder are underway at the unified command center.

http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/780/435683/

Pathfinder Incident Briefing




Geographic Response Strategy for Prince William Sound

Use this link to access the Prince William Sound Geographic Response Strategies. Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) are oil spill response plans tailored to protect a specific sensitive area from impacts following a spill. These response plans are map-based strategies that can save time during the critical first few hours of an oil spill response. They show responders where sensitive areas are located and where to place oil spill protection resources.

For more information on GRS in general, click here.

NOAA Weather Forecast

NOAA's marine weather forecast for the area of the incident.

KTUU Channel 2 Report with Video of PWSRCAC's Stan Jones

Tug hits Bligh Reef, leaves 3-mile-long sheen of fuel

Posted: Dec 24, 2009 8:08 AM

Updated: Dec 24, 2009 12:08 PM

Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council

by Channel 2 News staff and The Associated Press
Thursday, December 24, 2009

VALDEZ, Alaska -- A 136-foot tug doing an ice survey in Prince William Sound grounded on Bligh Reef at about 6 p.m. Wednesday night, and two of its fuel tanks were damaged.

The Coast Guard responded and issued a report at 3:30 a.m. Thursday. An overhead flight Thursday morning reveleaed a three-mile-long sheen of diesel fuel on the water.

The fuel tanks contain an estimated 33,500 gallons of diesel, about a quarter of their total capacity, and were reportedly breached. A Coast Guard dive team reported extensive damage to the hull, including a four- to five-foot section of the keel missing.

The Coast Guard says the tugboat Pathfinder's crew deployed 200 feet of fuel containment booms around the vessel after clearing the reef and continuing to deeper waters Wednesday evening.

The amount of diesel already spilled is unknown, according to an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation report, but the entire 33,500 gallons is at risk, the report says.

The Pathfinder is a Crowley Marine Services docking and escort tug for oil tankers at the Port of Valdez. Two departing tankers have been delayed to allow for Coast Guard and other response vessels to operate, the Coast Guard said.

All six crewmembers were tested for alcohol with negative results.

This is a developing story. Return to KTUU.com for more information as it becomes available. An overflight by both Channel 2 News and the Coast Guard is scheduled, and video of the grounding should be available by evening.

Updated Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (as of 12/24 at 1236)

Initial Call @ 1814
Call into CMS @ 1830
***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***
Position when grounded:
60-50.393N
146-52.942W


12/23/2009-Wednesday

1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef
1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock
1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)
1845 Looking to ID source
1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak
1845 Pathfinder off reef
1938 Stephen Wilson-activated
O’Brien’s & CHADUX
O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS
1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star
1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200
1945 Pathfinder anchored
2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300
2015 R & R Divers activated
2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready
Diver activation-2hr
ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs
2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message
2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms
2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)
2147 Invader on scene
Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal
2211 Valdez Star on scene
1 APSC Response Coordinator
2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130
R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday

0030 Alert ETA 0230
1900 ft CSI Boom
4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)
Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)
4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator
For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)
0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By
0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)
0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage
0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene
R & R Diving ETA Port 0630
0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed
Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender
Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster
Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster
Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender
Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System
Lucky (Bill Copeland)
0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed
Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)
0730 Alaska Challenger returns to port
0805 Boom deployment complete
0900 ETA Chadeaux Chartered Flights
0930 Mark Delozier over flight-chartered SERVS helo
0940 Endurance ETD Port (ETA Busby 1215)
Current Buster
Mini Barge
Wilden (diaphragm) Pump
Parastatic Pump
1000 ft suction/50 ft discharge
0958 Weather Report-Bligh Reef winds out of 010 degrees true 16 knots gusting 18 knots
1000 Endurance tasked to investigate sheen
1015 helo over flight reported 3 miles long sheen approx 1-1 1/2 mile off Glacier Island between Finski Point and Bullhead-grey rainbow sheen mix
1130 (approx time) Valdez Star skimming the area
1130 ETA Coast Guard Helo Over flight
1300 Over flight-SERVS helo

Updated Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (as of 12/24 1130)

Initial Call @ 1814
Call into CMS @ 1830
***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***
Position when grounded:
60-50.393N
146-52.942W


12/23/2009-Wednesday

1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef
1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock
1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)
1845 Looking to ID source
1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak
1845 Pathfinder off reef
1938 Stephen Wilson-activated
O’Brien’s & CHADUX
O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS
1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star
1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200
1945 Pathfinder anchored
2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300
2015 R & R Divers activated
2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready
Diver activation-2hr
ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs
2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message
2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms
2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)
2147 Invader on scene
Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal
2211 Valdez Star on scene
1 APSC Response Coordinator
2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130
R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday

0030 Alert ETA 0230
1900 ft CSI Boom
4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)
Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)
4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator
For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)
0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By
0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)
0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage
0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene
R & R Diving ETA Port 0630
0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed
Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender
Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster
Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster
Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender
Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System
Lucky (Bill Copeland)
0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed
Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)
0730 Alaska Challenger returns to port
0805 Boom deployment complete
0900 ETA Chadeaux Chartered Flights
0930 Mark Delozier over flight-chartered SERVS helo
0940 Endurance ETD Port (ETA Busby 1215)
Current Buster
Mini Barge
Wilden (diaphragm) Pump
Parastatic Pump
1000 ft suction/50 ft discharge
0958 Weather Report-Bligh Reef winds out of 010 degrees true 16 knots gusting 18 knots
1000 Endurance tasked to investigate sheen
1015 helo over flight reported 50 x 500ft sheen approx ≤ mile off Glacier Island between Finski Point and Bullhead-grey rainbow sheen mix
1130 ETA Coast Guard Helo Over flight

Note from Donna Schantz, PWSRCAC Acting Executive Director: the “1015 helo over flight reported a sheen approx ≤ mile off Glacier Island between Finski Point and Bullhead-grey rainbow sheen mix” According to Stan Stephens, all the sea lions should be out of there by now (Bullhead is a sea lion haul out). We are waiting for photos from the overflight and more info on the response effort. Joel Kennedy is at the Crowley Emergency Operations Center.

Another USCG Press Release

USCG PRESS RELEASE: Coast Guard responding to tug grouding in Prince William Sound

Press Release

VALDEZ, Alaska – Coast Guard personnel from Marine Safety Unit Valdez, Sector Anchorage and Cutter Long Island are responding to a 136-foot Crowley tug grounding on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound Thursday.

The Pathfinder crew had completed an ice survey and was heading back to its port in Valdez when the vessel struck the reef Wednesday evening. Vessel Traffic System Prince William Sound personnel received a radio call at 6:15 p.m. from Pathfinder’s master via VHF radio reporting the grounding.

The Pathfinder cleared the reef and proceeded to deeper waters at about 6:50 p.m. Anchoring just south of Busby Island, the tug’s six crewmembers reportedly deployed 200-feet of fuel containment booms around the vessel.

Two of the tug’s centerline diesel fuel tanks were reported breached with a potential spill of 33,500 gallons. The total capacity of the vessel is approximately127,700 gallons of diesel fuel. None of the crewmembers were reported injured.

The tugboat Invader and oil recovery boat Valdez Star are enroute to the location of the grounding to offer any possible assistance.

Two divers were tranported by the landing signal craft Alaska Challenge. Divers conducted an underwater survey of the Pathfinder’s hull at approximately 2:30 a.m. but have not provided a report yet. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak H-C130 Hercules aircraft is scheduled to conduct a overflight Thursday about 10 a.m.

The Pathfinder is a Crowley Marine Services docking and escort tug for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System Tankers. MSU Valdez is investigating the cause of the grounding.

Two tankers departing the Port of Valdez have been delayed to allow for Coast Guard and other response vessels to operate.

### 
The United States Coast Guard -- Proud History. Powerful Future.

Timeline of Pathfinder Incident (through 12/24 0805)

Initial Call @ 1814
Call into CMS @ 1830
***Weather SE 30 Seas 3-4 Rain***
Position when grounded:
60-50.393N
146-52.942W


12/23/2009-Wednesday
1814 Pathfinder aground Bligh Reef
1815 Aware u/w-turned around per SERVS back to dock
1830 Free from reef leaking diesel (amount??)
1845 Looking to ID source
1845 Pathfinder reports 2 center pressurized indicating leak
1845 Pathfinder off reef
1938 Stephen Wilson-activated
O’Brien’s & CHADUX
O’Brien’s-Mark Delozier-In Valdez and u/w to SERVS
1937 Sent APSC Response Coordinator (Rob Burkes) to Valdez Star
1938 Invader u/w ETA 2200
1945 Pathfinder anchored
2000 Valdez Star underway ETA 2300
2015 R & R Divers activated
2030 Alaska Challenger-Activated & ready
Diver activation-2hr
ETA to SERVS dock-transit time to Pathfinder 2hrs
2040 CMC-Risk-Ned Penitsch-Voice Message
2045 Doug Davis/Legal Counsel Comms
2140 D & A Test-Pathfinder reported completed (breathalyzer and urine sample)
2147 Invader on scene
Sight characterization completed and reported to duty office-atmosphere readings normal
2211 Valdez Star on scene
1 APSC Response Coordinator
2300 Alaska Challenger u/w ETA 0130
R&R Divers & CMS Port Engineer Mike Huisingh

12/24/2009-Thursday
0030 Alert ETA 0230
1900 ft CSI Boom
4 Totes Anchor (4-50lb anchors per tote)
Sausage Boom (25 bags-40ft per bag)
4 TCC personnel/1 APSC Response Coordinator
For Valdez Star Crew-Brian Bancroft Trainee 2/M (off Nanuq)/Chris Holmes Trainee Captain (Stalwart)
0048 Global Offshore Diving and Salvage on Stand-By
0113 Conference-Art Knowle, Gail Colby and Charlie Nalen-TAPS owners/Kathy Zinn (Valdez Terminal Manager) agree to allow access to spill response resources (Verbal Agreement-awaiting written request from Charlie Nalen)
0330 R & R Diving Report-extensive bottom damage
0430 Alaska Challenger Departure from scene
R & R Diving ETA Port 0630
0640 Fishing Vessels Deployed
Lisa Michelle (Scott Caruthers)-Boom Tender
Steven Daniel (Steve Alley)-Current Buster
Alaskan Spirit (Pat Day)-Current Buster
Northern Girl (Delbert Ferrier)-Boom Tender
Deserie Lynne (Kyle Rennie)-Skimmer and Mini Barge System
Lucky (Bill Copeland)
0645 2 Kjichak boats deployed
Jerry Saylors and Doc Cummings (SERVS Response Coordinators)
0730 Alaska Challenger returns to port
0800 Endurance ETD Port
Current Buster
Mini Barge
Wilden (diaphragm) Pump
Parastatic Pump
1000 ft suction/50 ft discharge
0805 Boom deployment complete

Tug Pathfinder incident - Second Notification from Alyeska

Click below to view the notification received from Alyeska on the grounding of the tug Pathfinder on December 23, 2009.

Pathfinder Incident of December 23, 2009

At approximately 1840 on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 PWSRCAC was notified that the conventional tug Pathfinder went aground on Bligh Reef while performing regular ice scouting duties. This incident occurred at about 1814 on December 23. No one was injured in the incident. There was a release of diesel fuel however the amount is unknown.

The Pathfinder was off Bligh Reef and had anchored in 70 feet of water off the south west side of Busby Island at 1945. At the grounding site at the time of the incident winds were 18-27 knots from the SE with 3 foot swells, and the south west side of Busby it was calm and raining. Two of the tug's centerline diesel fuel tanks were reported breached with a potential spill of 33,500 gallons. The total capacity of the vessel is approximately 127,700 gallons of diesel fuel.

See the posted notifications from Alyeska and the USCG for the most up to date information on the incident and current response efforts. PWSRCAC staff are monitoring this situation and will post additional information as it is received.

Click on the image below to view the notification from Alyeska.