NEWS | Nov. 13, 2017

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Harbor Ops Conducts Facilities-response Training

By Lance Cpl. Gabriela Garcia-Herrera Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Harbor Operations conducted facilities response training, or FRT, at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 6-7, 2017.

U.S. Navy sailors took part in the training to learn how to control potential oil or fuel spills in the waters surrounding the station.

“We train the Navy and the Marine Corps on waterborne spill response of oily hazardous substances,” said Joshua Hamilton, a hazardous waste spill response facilities coordinator. “It teaches the sailors and
Marines the importance of keeping our waterways clean of oil and fuel and keeping the environment safe for everyone to use in the future.”

Training lasted two days. The first day consisted of classroom instruction, and the next day was a practical application of the information they learned.

Sailors worked as a team to control a simulated spill by utilizing a buoy that traps oily substances then redirects them using the currents in the water. Once the substances are contained, they’re picked up by a skimmer boat, which filters and disposes of the materials into a 600 gallon container aboard the vessel.

“One challenge we faced was trying to get the buoy out of the water,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alex Placencia, a Harbor Operations boatswain mate with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “It’s manual labor, so we had to work as a team and get into a rhythm to get it out of the water efficiently and quickly.”

The training is held every year to help mitigate harm to the environment by testing and preparing sailors to react to possible chemical spills.

“Fish is one of the main entrées that the Japanese eat,” said Placencia “If we were to get oil in the water, it’s going to be a big problem. We’re ambassadors of America and visitors of this country. We have to take care of their homeland as if it is our own.”