Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Affecting Southeastern Louisiana: Last update
Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Affecting Southeast Louisiana
On April 20, 2010, the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and burned approximately 41 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana. The Deepwater Horizon subsequently sank on April 22, 2010, causing an oil spill. BP initially reported the amount of released oil from the well was approximately 5,000 US barrels per day (794,920 liters).
However, since the deployment of the riser insertion tube (RITT), it has been determined that the amount of oil released is far greater than initially reported. BP, US Government and industry specialists are now studying the issue to accurately assess the rate of release.
Since the deployment of the RITT, approximately 2,000 to 5,000 barrels (317,968 to 794,920 liters) of oil per day is being recovered through the RITT and stored on board the drillship “Discoverer Enterprise”. Southeast winds are pushing the released oil towards the southeast coast of Louisiana with shoreline impact beginning of May, 2010.
The US hurricane season officially begins on June 1, 2010. The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has not issued information addressing the affect of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico on the oil spill, however, we expect NOAA and the US Government to release information shortly. ECM will provide the information when available.
Based on the latest oil trajectory forecast issued by NOAA on May 20, 2010, noncontiguous sheen and tarballs are expected to flow southeast of the spill site. NOAA has identified an “Uncertainty Boundary” to cover areas of possible sheen and tarballs.
The most current oil spill trajectory forecasts are available at the Official site of Deepwater Horizon Unified Command ( Click on section “News/Info” then “Maps”). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a fact sheet addressing the affects of a hurricane on the oil spill.
Vessels are encouraged to avoid spill areas during voyages in the vicinity of southeast Louisiana as well as approaches to Southwest Pass.
Vessels that must transit through the affected areas are encouraged to maintain a safe speed through the oil that appears light, bright and on the surface and avoid patches of heavy black oil while ensuring safe navigation. Vessels that follow these procedures will greatly reduce the possibility that they will need their hull cleaned at some future date.
In case of need, ships can easily download latest oil trajectory forecasts from Deepwater Horizon Response Web site. The oil spill forecast trajectory information is updated daily at approximately 1700 hours Central Standard Time (US) which is forecast out to 72 hours. The oil spill trajectory forecasts are put together based on aerial overflights, weather forecasts as well as satellite information from NASA.
Summary of the Current Operations
- All ports in the Gulf of Mexico are open and continue to operate. Restrictions for ports are listed below.
- Due to rough seas and high winds as a results of Hurricane Alex, all offshore cleanup activities have been suspended.
- Perdido Pass, Alabama and Pensacola Pass and Destin Pass, Florida will be boomed and closedat flood tide and reopened at ebb tide. If a vessel needs to transit the areas during flood tide, movement of the boom is coordinated on VHF Channels 18 and 81. (MSIB 7-10)
- Vessel’s transiting to the Mobile Bay Ship Channel may face restrictions due to oil spill boom in the areas around Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan. (MSIB 7-10)
- Extensive booming is deployed throughout Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. Booming is difficult to see, especially at night or during low visibility. The USCG has requested vessels to report damaged or adrift boom to the Mobile Incident Command Post by calling 1.251.445.3333. (MSIB 7-10)
- A Safety Zone has been established from Mile Marker 2 AHP to Mile Marker 4 AHP in the vicinity of the Pilottown Anchorage for response vessel cleaning stations on the Lower Mississippi River. (MSIB 107)
- Vessel’s are encouraged to monitor USCG Urgent Marine Information Broadcasts on VHF 22A (157.1 MHZ). These broadcasts contain the most recent information concerning USCG mandated Safety Zones and information.
- Extreme caution is encouraged for all vessels transiting the Mississippi River from MM 15 southward due to extreme maritime congestion.
- A Safety Zone has been established in the Port of Venice, Chevron Slip (Venice Jump) and Buds Boat Rental (Tiger Pass), due to congestion (MSIB 113).
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a fact sheet addressing the effects of a hurricane on the affected areas. We have summarized the information below: What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf?
- The high winds and seas will mix and “weather” the oil which can help accelerate the biodegradation process.
- The high winds may distribute oil over a wider area, but it is difficult to model exactly where the oil may be transported.
- Movement of oil would depend greatly on the track of the hurricane.
- Storm surges may carry oil onto the coastline and inland as far as the surge reaches. Debris resulting from the hurricane may be contaminated by oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident, but also from other oil releases that may occur during the storm
BP Claims Line
Beginning May 3, 2010 British Petroleum (BP) is accepting claims for oil spill related damages. BP has established a dedicated Claims Line telephone number to process claims relating to the “Deepwater Horizon” incident. The Claims Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Under OPA 90 such claims may include cleaning operations of the vessel’s hull as well as commercial losses including earnings/profit and other losses in accordance to applicable laws and regulations.
BP Claims Line Telephone Number : 1.800.440.0858
- Personnel at the Claims Line will provide each caller with information on how to submit the claim.
- Each claim will be assigned an adjuster and the claim will be promptly investigated and evaluated.
- Larger and more complex claims may require additional investigation and documentation prior to evaluation and resolution.
- BP has promised to pay resolved claims promptly.
OSRO Resources Involved
The ongoing response to the “Deepwater Horizon” oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has resulted in the necessary transfer of resources from the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) and the National Response Corporation (NRC) from other areas creating concern about a possible oil spill removal deficit in some of the COTP zones in the region. (MSRC and NRC are oil spill removal organizations under contract listed in the various Tank Vessel Response Plans and Nontank Vessel Response Plans.)
Both MSRC and NRC have addressed this issue with the USCG Captain of the Ports (COTP) resulting in a document issued by the USCG Vessel Response Plan Program at USCG Headquarters advising that the USCG continues to find MSRC and NRC plan holder customers in compliance with MMPD (maximum most probable) and WCD (worst case discharge) planning requirements based upon the interpretation and assessment of MSRC’s and NRC’s cascade plans. A complete copy of this document is attached for review.
Many of ECM Clients have inquired specifically about the OSROs’ ability to fulfill the AMPD (average most probable discharge) coverage and whether or not you are required to apply for an Alternative Compliance waiver, as defined in NVIC 01-07.
MSRC and NRC have confirmed that they will continue to provide the required AMPD coverage in the Gulf area COTP zones, with concurrence from the COTPs, and therefore you as a plan holder are NOT required to take any action in this regard.
USCG Sector Mobile, Alabama has issued Marine Safety Information Bulletins (MSIB) identifying status updates of the ports within their area of responsibility. On 8 May 2010 USCG Sector Mobile issued the following information.
Self Assessment form to be submitted prior to entering port
To provide for continued facilitation of marine traffic, vessel decontamination sites have been established for deep – draft vessels at offshore fairway anchorages. Vessels are required to conduct self – evaluations of the condition of the vessel’s hull prior to entering ports.
The self – assessments must be submitted to :
Mobile.MTSRU@BP.com or by calling (251) 445-8983.
If through self – assessment the vessel determines that oil is present on the hull, the vessel MUST undergo decontamination prior to entry into any port. We have attached the vessel self – assessment form to be submitted prior to entering port.
Vessels that do not submit the Assessment Form will be delayed when entering Tampa Bay. A copy of this Assessment Form is availabe for download herewith below.
Offshore Anchorage Decontamination Sites – Coordinates
The cleaning and decontamination stations are only for vessels that are “sheening.”
SECTOR MORGAN CITY COTP ZONE
Port Fourchon: 29° 07’19.32N; 090° 12’01.02″W
Cocodrie Bay: 29° 10’05.64″N; 090° 36’09.00″W
Port Fourchon Offshore: 29° 02’ 8.56″N; 090° 13’53.04″W
Outbound Offshore Mississippi Canyon: 28° 17’40.74″N; 088° 42’19.56″W
LOOP Outbound Gross: 28° 16’12.12″N; 089° 54’19.08″W
Grand Isle (2 barges): 28° 16’08.22″N; 089° 56’56.52″W
Future Decon Site (inactive until needed): Coordinates:
Morgan City, LA (Eugene Island Sea Bouy) 29° 10’N; 091° 34’ W
SECTOR NEW ORLEANS COTP ZONE
USCG Sector New Orleans has issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB -120) establishing “NO WAKE” zones in the proximity of barges moored or anchored in support of the DEEPWATER HORIZON oil spill response efforts.
A cleaning station dispatch has been set up and can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (985) 856-2611, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via VHF-FM Channel 16 or 5 call sign “vessel decon.”
These areas include the following reported positions:
- KS532, KS536, JMC190 (common name: Flotel 1) in South Pass at 29 01.236 N – 89 10.398 W.
- CM15, CM16 (common name; Flotel 2) in Pass A Loutre at 29 12.222 N 89 03.003 W
- CM 7 (300 man), (common name; Flotel 3) in Barataria Bay at 29 17.319 N 89 56.881 W
Barges serving as work platforms or staging platforms reported positions:
- Loading Barge – at 29 03.810 N; 89 15.698 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 00.962 N; 89 09.973 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 12.530 N; 89 02.969 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 23.350 N; 89 18.341 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 29.971 N; 89 10.257 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 15.491 N; 89 13.241 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 28.909 N; 89 57.004 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 07.605 N; 89 05.005 W
- Loading Barge – at 29 28.909 N; 89 57.004 W
- Housing Barge – at 29 16.371 N; 89 12.470 W
- Fixed Resource Barge – at 29 07.078 N; 89 12.470 W
Rabbit Island Gulf Intercoastal Waterway: 30° 09’N; 089° 38’W
Venice a.k.a. The Jump: 29° 21’N; 089° 27.5’W
Southwest Pass Mile Marker 15: 29° 15’N; 089° 15’W
Southwest Pass Inbound Offshore: 28° 50’N; 089° 24’W
Baptiste Collete Bayou: 28° 23’05.64″N; 089° 18’21.36″W
Bayou St. Danis: 29° 28′ 20.4″ N; 089#59′ 23.1″W
Barataria Bay: 29° 25′ 27.36″N; 089° 59′ 35.7″W
Wilkinson Canal: 29° 27’35.46″N; 089° 57’04.68″W
South Pass: 29° 00’59.88″N; 089° 09’59.64″W
COPT New Orleans has established a safety zone encompassing the coastal area from Mile 45 EHL to Mile 20 WHL on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Response resources have been placed along waterways throughout this region on waterways. Special attention shall be paid to the
following major waterways as they are open to unrestricted commercial navigation:
1. The mouth Lower Mississippi River, including:
- A. South Pass;
- B. Southwest Pass;
- C. Main Pass; and,
- D. Tiger Pass
2. Barataria Waterway.
3. Baptiste Collette.
4. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
All vessels must not come within 20 meters of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations. In closer areas where the 20 meter distance is not practical, vessels are required to be vigilant of persons working from small boats or deploying boom material and to transit at safe speed and distance to maintain a no wake zone. Vessels are not to come in contact with boom, or booming and oil spill response operations.
Vessels which wish to enter this zone must obtain permission from the Coast Guard Incident Commander. The Incident Commander can be reached at the Coast Guard Incident Command Post Houma (985) 493-7835. (MSIB 10-121)
SECTOR MOBILE COTP ZONE
Panama City, FL Harbor Safe Anchorage: 30° 08’N; 085° 41’W
Panama City, FL Offshore Anchorage: 30° 03’N: 085° 44’W
Mobile, AL Deep Sea Outbound Two: 28° 45’N; 085° 45’W
Mobile, AL Deep Sea Outbound One: 28° 45’N; 087° 15’W
Pensacola, FL Offshore Anchorage: 30° 11’N; 087° 20’W
Pensacola, FL Harbor Safe Anchorage: 30° 20’N; 087° 15’W
Mobile, AL State Docks Pier South A: 30° 42’N; 088° 02’W
Mobile, AL Offshore Anchorage: 30° 04’N; 088° 04’W
Pascagoula, MS Bayou Cassote, Terminal F: 30° 20’N; 088° 30’W
Pascagoula, MS Offshore Anchorage: 30° 06’N; 088° 34’W
Pascagoula, MS River Harbor, South Terminal: 30° 21’N; 088° 34’W
Gulfport, MS Offshore Anchorage: 30° 08’N; 088° 52’W
Gulfport, MS State Docks East Pier: 30 ° 21’N; 089° 05’W
Eastern Intercoastal Waterway Foley Land Cut: 30° 16’N; 087° 44’W
Western Intercoastal Waterway, Dauphin Island: 30° 16’N; 088° 09’W
Mobile, AL ORC Docks, North River Inlet: 30° 41.3′N; 088° 03’W
Pascagoula, MS Chevron Docks; 30° 20’N; 088° 30’W
Prior to a vessel receiving pilots at the Mississippi River Pilot Boarding Station, the pilot boat will conduct an inspection of the vessel’s hull. If the vessel is found to be “sheening” the vessel will be required to have the hull cleaned at one of the vessel cleaning and decontamination stations. Cleaning is coordinated with New Orleans Decon Group via VHF Channel 16 through the pilot on board the vessel.
Vessels that are “sheening” or have oil on the hull, will be directed to the vessel cleaning and decontamination station at 27 degrees 37.2’N, 83 degrees 03.1’N. Once anchored, an Oil Spill Response Organization (OSRO) will be assigned to decontaminate the vessel’s hull.
Upon completion of decontamination, an opportunity for a final inspection of the vessel’s hull by a vessel representative and the USCG representative will be available.
Vessels that have been oiled from the oil spill and not “sheening” should coordinate their own cleaning and contact BP Claims at US telephone number +1 800-440-0858 to request reimbursement.
The USCG has established a Safety Zone from Mississippi River Mile Marker 10 to Mile Marker 17.5 BHP (Light 18 to Light 6) in the vicinity of the vessel cleaning and decontamination stations. Vessels are to transit at the slowest safe speed with minimum wake.
USCG Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, has established additional requirements for vessels entering Tampa Bay. All vessels entering Tampa Bay must submit a Vessel Assessment Reporting Form to the USCG Sector St. Petersburg Notice of Arrivals Desk at US telephone number +1 813-228-2189 extension 8140, 24 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival.
Prior to boarding by the pilot, the pilot boat will conduct a brief inspection of the hull to verify the vessel is not sheening and there is no oil on the vessel’s hull. This inspection is also to verify the submission of the Vessel Assessment Reporting Form. If the vessel is found to be oiled or sheening, a report must be made to Tampa Bay CTVS (VHF Channel 12).
Vessels transiting to the Mobile Ship Channel may face restrictions due to booming operation in the areas around Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan. Restriction may also occur in smaller passes; closures will only be made after considerations with stakeholders regarding environmental and traffic impacts. The potential closures should not interrupt deep – draft vessel traffic.
USCG Sector New Orleans has established a vessel decontamination station offshore for vessels departing the Lower Mississippi River which need cleaning prior to transiting to other ports. The station is located at:
MS Canyon Cleaning Station 28 degrees 17’ N 088 degrees 42’ W
Cleaning stations can be contacted by using Channel VHF 16 and VHF Channel 5 using the call sign “vessel decon.”
Decontamination stations are frequently moved or closed. To obtain the current information prior to entering port the vessel can call the “decon dispatcher” at telephone number (985) 856-261. This telephone number can also be used to report oiled hulls.
Vessels are encouraged to avoid spill areas and contact with oil, ensuring safe navigation.
USCG Sector Mobile
USCG Sector Mobile updated the Vessel Self – Assessment Form on May 20, 2010 to be submitted by all vessels inbound to ports within the USCG Mobile Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone. Do not use the previous assessment form. The ports affected are Gulfport – Mississippi, Pascagoula – Mississippi, Mobile – Alabama, Pensacola – Florida and Panama City – Florida.
The new email address for submitting the Vessel Self – Assessment Form is: http://ICPMOBILEMTSRU@uscg.mil
Contact telephone number is 251.445.8983. Telephone calls are accepted 0730 – 1830 hours (local time) seven (7) days a week.
USCG Sector St. Petesburg, Florida
USCG Sector St. Petersburg, Florida, issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB)stating that Tampa Bay is open and free of restrictions to all vessels not exhibiting signs of oil contamination. If vessels show signs of sheening, the vessel must be cleaned prior to entering port.
USCG Sector Miami and Jacksonville, Florida
USCG Sector Miami and Jacksonville, Florida are requiring vessel hull self-assessments for oil contamination on those vessels which have transited through oil affected areas prior to entering port. Self –assessment reports are to be made to the following telephone numbers:
- USCG Sector Miami; daytime hours +1 305.535.8732
- nighttime hours +1 305.535.4472 (MSIB 1-10)
- USCG Sector Jacksonville; +1 904.564.7513 (MSIB 11-10)
If the vessel has determined that oil is present on the hull, the USCG will direct the vessel to proceed to the designated decontamination location.
Sector/Port of New Orleans
The USCG Captain of the Port New Orleans is allowing vessel transits through Southwest Pass to the Mississippi River with restrictions that are outlined in the “Marine Safety Information Bulletin” (MSIB) dated April 29, 2010.
Sector New Orleans has provided the following guidance for those vessels requiring hull decontamination:
a) No deep draft vessels have required cleaning prior to entering the Lower Mississippi River. However, in the event that cleaning is needed, use the Self Assessment Vessel Reporting Form to notify Sector New Orleans that cleaning is taking place. Only if you have visible oil that is creating a sheen on the water, should you fill this form out and proceed to a cleaning station. Email the completed form to email@example.com or fax to + 1 (504) 219-2730.
b) Vessel cleaning stations are intended for those vessels which are sheening, and must be cleaned. Vessels wishing to be cleaned, but do not meet these criteria, should coordinate their own cleaning and seek reimbursement through the BP claims process. Cleaning stations are available at the following locations:
1. Offshore in Mississippi Canyon at latitude 28-17’ N and longitude 088-42’W. Vessels are required to contact the decon station when 10NM away if they intend to stop by hailing the cleaning station on VHF-FM Channel 16 (MSIB 93).
2. Approaching the Southwest Pass Sea Buoy at latitude 28-48’00.00”N andlongitude 089-26’30” W. Cleaning will be coordinated via the pilot onboard. Non-piloted vessels can arrange cleaning by contacting the deconstation on VHF-FM Channel 16. This station conducts gross decontamination after which the vessel will proceed to cleaning station located in Southwest Pass (MSIB 90).
3. Southwest Pass moving cleaning station from MM 17.5 BHP (Light “6”) and MM 10 BHP (Light “18”). Cleaning operations will be coordinated via the pilot on board (MSIB 90).
4. At Boothville, LA in the vicinity of Fort Jackson (approximately MM20). This station is intended for only those vessels which have been heavily oiled and will be coordinated via the pilot on board. Lightly oiled vessels which have been cleaned in Southwest Pass and are no longer sheening are not required to stop at this cleaning station (MSIB 90).
5. The GIWW at approximately MM 34 EHL in the vicinity of Rabbit Island. This is a portable cleaning station and mariners are encouraged to stop at a location in that general area that they feel is safe for vessel cleaning operations and can be contacted at VHF-FM Channel 16 (MSIB 90).”
ECM will continue to monitor the oil spill and its affect on the Gulf of Mexico and provide updates as necessary.
Additional information can be obtained from the following web sites:
- NOAA web page
- NOAA and Geoplatform web site
- visit deepwather horizonresponse web site The Official site of Deepwater Horizon Unified Command
- NOAA’s National Weather Service has created a special forecast website
- Google Crisis Response
- Figure above: Image of the affected area, captured on May 22, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Credit NASA Earth Observatory web site
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