The Port Operations department (Port Ops) at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba conducted training for oil spill response (OSR), and hazardous waste operations and emergency response Feb. 6-10.
The annual training ensures NS Guantanamo Bay Port Ops Sailors and contract workers have the necessary skills to operate the installation's OSR boats, equipment, and other assets to quickly react to in-water oil spills on base. "Oil spill response is one of the primary duties for Port Ops," said Senior Chief Quartermaster Paul Bischoff, NS Guantanamo Bay Port Ops leading chief petty officer. "Unlike bases in the U.S., we don't have specialized on-call oil spill response teams available at the other end of a telephone. In the unlikely event that a large spill happened in the bay, we need to be trained and ready to handle it ourselves."
The training evolution, which incorporated classroom sessions and on-site exercises and response actions, utilized the installation's emergency response plan which focuses on proper handling of potential environmental mishaps. "Having base personnel trained in these areas enables us to take immediate steps to protect our beaches, shoreline, and local marine life from the effects of a large-scale spill," said Bischoff.