Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Global Wraps up Year-long Project to Remove 11 Derelict Vessels, Debris and Dock Structures from the Columbia River

SCAA member Global started the project in late 2017 and it took an entire year to remove all the derelict vessels. The River Queen was removed early this summer and the final bit of the waste stream from the vessel including all the hazardous materials was completed in September 2018. The final waste totals and the “all clear” from the State of Oregon was given early last month.  

A Monumental Task: Removing Multiple Derelict Commercial Vessels

Goble, OR lies on the Columbia River approximately 70 nautical miles from the Pacific Ocean, and the area surrounding the site provides critical habitat to salmon, osprey and numerous other species of birds, fish and mammals. The Columbia is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, vital to fishing, shipping and recreation; an environmental disaster on the waterway would have a substantial ecological, economic and cultural impact on the area.

In August 2017, Global was awarded a contract by the Oregon Department of State Lands to remove a flotilla of 11 derelict commercial vessels, debris and dock structures from a state-owned leasehold on the Columbia River. The vessels were: a 300-ton dredging vessel; the River Queen, an 800-ton former car ferry; a 300-ton crane barge; three steel-hulled material barges; a steel tugboat; two wooden tugs; a motor vessel; and a sailboat.

The site had been a problem for many years with a history of recurring “mystery spills”; Global had been contracted by the USCG and regulatory stakeholders to defuel sunken vessels on multiple occasions as they continued to sink at the site. The state terminated the leaseholder’s contract and ordered immediate removal of the vessels; at the time the project was put out to bid, three vessels at the site had already sunk and the remaining derelicts held the potential to release thousands of gallons of diesel, heavy fuel oil and other contaminants into the river. The US Coast Guard conducted an initial sweep of the vessels, removing the bulk hydrocarbons by defueling accessible tanks and removing hazardous fluids and solids, and an asbestos removal team began work on the known asbestos containing materials (ACM) in the River Queen.

Commencing Cleanup Efforts

Global’s initial work included booming around the site to contain any leaking contaminants and debris; dive and environmental crews also completed full video surveys of all vessels above and below water, and documented their contents. The two wooden tugs and the motor vessel had sunk, and the other 8 were in various stages of disrepair; several vessels were silted in near the bank. Although the River Queen was at the top of the state’s priority list for removal because of her potential pollution risk, most of the other vessels were moored or sunk in place around the former car ferry; they would have to be removed before the River Queen could be accessed.

Global crews began dewatering the floating vessels as needed to maintain buoyancy until they could be towed to a shipyard upstream for disposal; they also removed residual fuels, oils and other hazardous materials to mitigate the possibility of release until the vessels could be removed from the site. The decks of the floating vessels were cleared of several tons of debris including scrap metal, timbers, tires, broken construction equipment and camping trailers. A derrick barge was utilized for lifting and clamshelling operations to remove the sunken wooden vessels form the river bottom, and all clamshelled debris was placed onto materials barges. The barges were lined with plastic as a secondary containment, controlling contaminated water and waste.

All derelict commercial vessels at the Goble site were under a Captain of the Port order, requiring a tow plan for release prior to movement. After a US Coast Guard tow plan was approved, each structurally sound floating vessel was towed upstream to a disused shipyard that Global had contracted for the dismantling process. Once at the shipyard, rollerbags were used to haul the vessels up the boat ramp onto shore in lieu of a crane; the rollerbags provided a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach. The vessels were rolled into a 60-mil HDPE-lined containment area. Crews conducted hazardous materials sampling before breaking the vessels down for recycling and proper disposal and ensuring worker safety was at the forefront.

A River Queen No Longer

Moored at the center of the Goble site was the River Queen, a 215-foot long steel-hulled former car and passenger steamship ferry that had been turned into a floating restaurant and dance hall in the 1960s and had since fallen into serious disrepair. The vessel’s two stories of decks and pilot house were collapsing in on themselves; she was silted in and had developed a significant list. Because the River Queen was structurally unsound she couldn’t be towed upriver to the shipyard, so Global’s project managers, salvage master and naval architect developed a plan to remove the vessel’s topside structures and the cantilevered car deck at the Goble site, leaving just the steel hull. Once those elements were removed, the vessel’s hull could be placed into a floating drydock in the middle of the Columbia River and safely towed to the shipyard for final breaking.

Lead paint and asbestos were removed from the River Queen by abatement crews on site; once the topside deck structures were cleared of contaminants they were systematically deconstructed, and the debris was loaded onto materials barges. The hull was braced for structural stability, then maneuvered into the floating drydock and towed upriver. At the shipyard, abatement crews continued their work on the hull, followed by teams using wire saws and torches to cut the hull into portions that could be lifted out by crane.

Returned to Nature

Once the River Queen was removed from the Goble site, Global crews were able to remove all remaining mooring pilings and dock structures, returning the leasehold and shoreline to its pristine natural state. The amount of scrap, hazardous materials and liquid waste the Global team removed from the site is staggering:
  80 tons of hazardous waste
  510 tons of solid waste
  113 tons of liquid waste and oily water
  105 tons of miscellaneous waste materials (tires, etc.)
  1,730 tons of recyclable metals (~800 tons were from the demolition of the River Queen

All the work on this project was performed with close adherence to local, state and federal laws and permitting, with concerned efforts to minimize environmental impact at both the project site and the breakdown shipyard. The success of the Goble project has relied on clear communication between the many parties involved, including subcontractors, state agencies, environmental permitting agencies and the US Coast Guard.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Hands-on Oil Spill Response Strategies and Tactics Training

Training at Ohmsett takes the learning from the classroom, to the 2.6 million gallon wave/tow tank.  That’s where students receive hands-on training with the latest spill response equipment and techniques used in the field during the hands-on Oil Spill Strategies and Tactics Training, May 14-17, 2019 and August 6-9, 2019 in Leonardo, New Jersey.

With the emphasis on practical experience in full-scale oil recovery operations in the Ohmsett tank, you can increase your proficiency using boom and skimmers while practicing removing spilled oil. The combined classroom/tank exercise training provides response teams the skills to work more safely, operate more effectively, and make better decisions in the field.

The course is presented in partnership with Texas A&M National Spill Control School (NSCS).  Classroom curriculum and instruction is provided by Texas A&M University National Spill Control School. Ohmsett staff provides professional training services to support the hands-on portion of training. At the completion of the course, students receive a NSCS Certificate of Completion. For course information and registration, visit www.ohmsett.com/registration.html, or call 732-866-7183.

Ohmsett’s mission is to increase oil spill response capability through independent and objective performance testing of equipment, providing realistic training to response personnel, and improving technologies through research and development.Ohmsett is managed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) through a contract with Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA).

Monday, September 17, 2018

Global's Enviro Crew Assists With Water Rescue

The nature of the work performed at SCAA member company Global often requires personnel to be prepared for just about everything, so Global's crews train for water rescues, first aid and CPR. The training certainly paid off the morning of August 13th when two of their Environmental Technicians, Carl Anderson and Caleb Faires, helped rescue two workers that had fallen into the Duwamish River off of Harbor Island at the Port of Seattle. 

Anderson and Faires were in a small landing craft hauling floating boom for a fuel transfer at Terminal 18 when they heard and saw several people across the channel at Terminal 30 hailing them. The Global crew stopped their booming and headed across the river. As they got closer saw one man in the water with a lifering, holding an unconscious man. The victim had apparently fallen from one of the large container ships;the second man was an operations manager at T-18 who jumped in to help the victim. The water in the channel remains near 55 degrees, even in summer, and the rescuer was in danger of succumbing to exhaustion and hypothermia. 

The Global team lowered the ramp at the front of the landing craft and pulled the two men into the boat. They rolled the unconscious man onto his side to help remove water from the victim’s lungs; the victim’s vitals were faint but he was breathing and had a pulse. A crane operator at T-18was able to lower a man basket next to the boat and a Seattle Fire crew helped get the men from the boat into the basket. The operations manager was treated at the scene; the unconscious man was transported to Harborview Medical Centerin critical condition. 

Anderson and Faires said they were simply in the right place at the right time, and were glad they could help with the rescue. “I’m so glad we’ve had the CPR class; you never know when something like this could happen. We knew what to do and we helped the victim out until the firefighters could get there,” said Anderson.

In a press release, the Seattle Fire Department thanked all those involved in the rescue effort. “The Seattle Fire Department extends our appreciation to the man who jumped in to save the patient, and to the private boat owners for stopping to help. If it weren’t for their coordinated life-saving efforts, the outcome may have been different.”

Photo courtesy of Seattle Fire Department:

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Press Release - September 1, 2018 SCAA Announces Leadership Change



Justin Thomas Russell
(571) 451-0433

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA (September 1, 2018)  -  The Spill Control Association of America (SCAA)  announces today the retirement of Executive Director John Allen and the appointment of Justin Thomas Russell to fill the role within the organization. This day marks the end of a transition that began on August 15th. While Mr. Russell will begin his term effective immediately, Mr. Allen will remain a member of SCAA as both an individual member and a member of the Past President's Committee.

Mr. Allen leaves the role of Executive Director after eight years of serving the industry association.  Under his leadership, SCAA saw growth in membership, and the establishment of critical relationships with legislative and regulatory leadership within Federal, State and Local Government.  Previous to this role, Mr. Allen worked at the National Response Corporation, where he served in various leadership positions over a tenure that spanned eighteen years. 

Prior to his role in the spill response and control industry, Mr. Allen retired as a naval officer after a distinguished twenty-one years of service.

In his farewell message to the leadership and members of SCAA, Mr. Allen said: "my involvement in SCAA for the past decade, eight years of which I served as Executive Director, has been an honor, a great experience and a labor of love for our industry."

Mr. Russell comes to SCAA with a proven record in spill response operations and management, executive leadership in a corporate or governmental organization, development and implementation of government relations strategies, marketing/business development, and membership management.  Mr. Russell is also a twelve year veteran of the United States Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve where he specialized in Marine Safety and Environmental Response.

"The oil spill response industry is a community that I am intimately familiar with," said Mr. Russell.  "For almost thirty years, I have either been an active participant or maintained connections that have supported the oil spill response community."

Mr. Russell added, "I’m thrilled to officially begin my new role and quite frankly… it is good to be part of an industry that has been such a big part of my life (and paved my road to DC 15 years ago)."

“I am pleased to have Justin Russell on board, guiding our association through its next chapter as the Voice of Spill Response Professionals.  There is much to do in front of us, and Justin will be a great ambassador for our members”, said Devon Grennan, President of the Spill Control Association of America.

SCAA is the United Voice of the Response Industry.
The Spill Control Association of America was organized in 1973 to actively promote the interests of all groups within the spill response community. Our organization represents spill response contractors, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, instructors, government & training institutions and corporations working in the industry. The association is focused on the following:

  • To grow membership by appealing to a broader cross-section of the environmental response/remediation industry. 
  • To focus on SCAA's resources to support the interests of its members and prospective members in an ever-changing market place faced with challenges of a more stringent regulatory atmosphere. 
  • To provide a unique forum for networking and best management practice sharing where members of SCAA can mutually address a range of issues and concerns with a wider audience.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Global Stops Fuel Release of MV Sanctuary off Orcas Island in Washington

The MV Sanctuary was a 46’ wooden trawler originally built in the 1930s for the Canadian fishing industry and later converted to a pleasure boat. On June 5th, 2018 Sanctuary caught fire in Judd Cove off Orcas Island in Washington; no one was on board at the time. Several agencies responded to the vessel fire, including San Juan County Emergency Management, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, San Juan Island Fire Department, Orcas Island Fire and Rescue and the US Coast Guard. Despite the responders’ attempts, the vessel took on water and sank in approximately 20 fsw, releasing diesel fuel into the cove.

The San Juan Islands are a particularly sensitive ecological area; Sanctuary sank in an eelgrass bed, and adjacent to the Indian Island Marine Health Observatory. The Island Oil Spill Association (IOSA) deployed boom around the vessel to contain leaking diesel. The Washington Department of Ecology performed overflights to monitor the sheen, look for oiled marine life and determine the impact to the shoreline.

SCAA member Global was contacted by the US Coast Guard to stop the fuel release from the vessel; a crew mobilized out of Global’s Seattle office to defuel the vessel. Global used the Pintail landing craft to transport a vacuum truck from Anacortes to the wreck site. An estimated 50-gallons of diesel had already been released when Sanctuary sank; the dive team removed an additional 250-gallons of fuel from the sunken vessel.

Once defueling operations were complete, the Washington Department of Natural Resources contracted Global to remove and demolish the vessel. A derrick barge from Manson was brought in to lift the Sanctuary; after divers rigged her for removal she was lifted onto a barge from Island Tug & Barge. The vessel was transported to a shipyard and all remaining hazardous materials were removed; once released by the authorities the vessel was broken down for recycling and proper disposal.