On September 17, McAllister Towing and Reinauer Transportation will be partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and Sector New York in a major simulated marine accident and pollution incident on the waters of Long Island Sound. Responders will be faced with a simulated grounding and subsequent oil spill impacting the waters and shoreline of Connecticut and New York.
The exercise is part of the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP), a voluntary program bringing together industry and government to meet the exercise and preparedness requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, legislation enacted following the Exxon Valdez. It is the first to test newly enacted vessel salvage regulations, passed by Congress to further strengthen marine response efforts. These exercises physically bring together public and private response professionals. They test the enormous management, logistics, and public response demands associated with major accidents and the actual public and environmental protection response plans which have been developed.
McAllister Towing is sponsoring the exercise and other participants include Reinauer Transportation; National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Fire Island National Seashore; New York Office of Emergency Management; New York Department of Environmental Conservation; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Fire Department of New York, Marine Response Alliance, OPA 90 Salvage and Marine Fire Fighting provider; National Response Corporation; Gallagher Marine Services Spill Management Team; The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company; Steamship Mutual; and Freehill, Hogan, & Mahar. Cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and SUNY Maritime College will also participate.
McAllister is a partner in the Marine Response Alliance; The MRA was founded in 1994 combining the leading experts in the U.S. in all aspects of Emergency Response providing member owned salvage, lightering, tugs and firefighting equipment in all Captain of Port (COPT) zones. The participation in this exercise is especially important to the MRA as the OPA 90 NON Tank regulations are in final review and are to be enforced later this year.
USCG Sector New York Commander and Captain of the Port of New York & New Jersey, Captain Gordon Loebl, said of PREP “This exercise is of particular value to the port community in the greater New York area. We are able to bring together a number of agencies – federal, state and local – as well as private companies to exercise our response capability. This becomes absolutely crucial in the event of a real incident. These exercises strengthen our collective ability to protect the environment and ensure the continued free flow of commerce.”
As part of the drill, the USCG Atlantic Strike Team, Fire Department of New York, the Town of Greenwich, and National Response Corporation will deploy boats and oil containment boom in New York and Connecticut waters, while an Incident Command Post is established at SUNY Maritime College, in the Bronx.
USCG Sector Long Island Sound Commander, Captain Ed Cubanski, said “Honing an employee’s skills to improve their proficiency in response via participation in exercises is vital to the development and training of both government and industry personnel. Sector Long Island Sound personnel are enthusiastic to be participating in this exercise with Sector New York and McAllister Towing. It is through exercises and the meetings with other government agency members and port stakeholders leading up to an exercise that forges the partnerships and trust needed during a crisis.”