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Atlantic Strike Team (AST) | Exercise Highlight

Aggies teach responders how to corral oil Texas-style


Author: Chief Petty Officer Christopher Zahn


GALVESTON, Texas — Members from the National Strike Force’s Atlantic Strike Team, Pacific Strike Team and Gulf Strike Team worked alongside other response and industry personnel to learn about spill response at the Oil Spill Control Course in Galveston Jan. 23 -27, 2012.  

The course was hosted by Texas A&M’s Engineering Extension Service and they covered topics including oil movement, containment and cleanup, boom and skimmer design, shoreline protection and cleanup and restoration.

“The course had great hands-on training.  I learned a lot about deploying boom in different wind conditions and how to adjust the anchoring systems.  It was good to work with members with the various backgrounds,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James Moore, a member of the Atlantic Strike Team, based out of Ft. Dix, N.J.

The class was comprised of students from the U.S. Coast Guard, regulatory agencies and U.S. and Canadian industry partners.  The instruction went beyond theory. Each day, students went out to the field to practice the tactics they had learned, getting a mix of classroom and practical instruction that culminated in a final exercise at the end of the week.  For their final exercise, the teams were given a scenario and had to organize and execute a response to a simulated oil spill.  

The students applied what they learned regarding the movement of oil, taking into account tides, currents and winds. After prioritizing environmentally sensitive areas, they developed a plan to contain and remove the product from the environment.  Deploying hundreds of feet of boom, using four boats in two separate areas, the teams corralled the simulated oil (peat moss) and successfully removed it using a skimming vessel.  

“The techniques I learned during theses exercises will be valuable in responses to oil spills where swift and effective deployment of response equipment is vital,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Nagel, a member of the Atlantic Strike Team.

The experience the strike team members and the other students gain during this short course will pay dividends for response to any large or small spill.  The students walk away with the knowledge to perform the tactics themselves, and they have a greater understanding of what challenges other responders may face.

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“The World’s Best Responders: Any Time, Any Place, Any Hazard.”

Last Modified 1/12/2016