SANTA RITA, Guam –
Responders and the U.S. Coast Guard held a three-day oil spill response certification course required under the Code of Federal Regulations for First Responder Operations Level Training given at Cabras Marine Guam from Jan. 17 - 19, 2024, focused on operational requirements for responding to pollution spills, particularly with oil spill recovery organizations.
"We had the opportunity to take part in and observe their strategy, and they successfully finished the exercise by showcasing their professional knowledge and response skills," stated Lt. j.g. Whip Blacklaw, chief of the Incident Management Division at U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam.
They deployed over 450 feet of boom and utilized equipment like drum skimmers following a geographic response strategy outlined in the Area Contingency Plan (ACP). The ACP is a comprehensive strategy for responding to environmental disasters in specific geographic regions, which is important for effective preparedness and response activities.
According to Blacklaw, local stakeholders, including OSROCO and others participated in a spill response exercise that exceeded expectations, as demonstrated by their "professionalism in promptly identifying the simulated discharge and swiftly mobilizing resources on-site, showcased efficiency and effectiveness."
The exercise involved a crew of shoreside spill responders, a jet ski operator, and a
small boat crew to set up containment for a simulated pipeline rupture near the Harbor of Refuge in Guam. The U.S. Coast Guard and local stakeholders observed the response strategy, which showcased their professional capabilities and strengthened partnerships. Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Brenton, a marine science technician, collaborated with Blacklaw throughout the training, with the U.S. Coast Guard offering insights into procedures and tactics.
This training is crucial for better preparedness in the event of future spills, with ongoing efforts to refine tools and prevent future incidents overseen by the incident management division within the response department. It enhances partnerships with local stakeholders and OSROCOs, expanding the network of capabilities and communication channels for improved response posture.
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam
The U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam team focuses on maritime safety, security, and stewardship in Oceania. With a primary presence in Guam and Saipan and around 300 members across Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the team maintains a strong U.S. presence in the Micronesia sub-region and adjacent areas, closely tied to local communities.