Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SCAA Member Global’s Crews Remove More Than 85 vessels from Gulf Coast in Hurricane Harvey Response Efforts

In the 3 months since Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas’ coastal regions, SCAA Member Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. has successfully completed more than 85 salvage operations in the region. Under contract to the US Coast Guard ESF-10 Vessel Response, Global worked closely with state and federal agencies to remove the vessels from a 250-square mile area, extending from south of Corpus Christi north to Seadrift, TX. 

Global’s Houston office responded immediately after the hurricane struck, mobilizing crews and equipment to the site. When operations were at their peak, Global had 6 totally independent salvage teams operating from f 5 fully found salvage crane barges, each equipped to support surface-supplied dive and environmental response operations. A fully equipped Dive Support Vessel (DSV) served as a 6th salvage resource.  In addition, three derrick barges were assembled to provide heavy lift capability where needed.  More than 60 employees, including divers, environmental technicians, project managers and support staff, worked 7 days a week to complete removal efforts. 

“As far as the sheer number and variety of vessels recovered over such a large area, this is Global’s largest-scale project to date, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done with the Coast Guard and the State of Texas,” said Kerry Walsh, Global Project Manager. “The logistics required to assemble the armada of salvage platforms was challenging given everything was being completed in an area that was itself deeply suffering the impact of the storm.” 

Global’s crews removed a wide variety of vessels damaged or sunk by the hurricane, including numerous yachts, houseboats, pleasure craft and fishing vessels; the largest being a 75-foot steel shrimp boat sunk and heavily entangled with a second  65-foot shrimper. Global’s crews attended to each casualty, first rigging it for lifting, dewatering and refloating where possible.  Environmental crews recovered fuels, batteries, fire extinguishers and other hazardous materials. With the vessel cleared, it was towed alongside and lifted onto a materials barge, then transferred to the shore side staging area where it was turned over to the State of Texas for final disposition. During the course of the project, Global teams removed thousands of gallons of pollutants and tons of debris from the water and shoreline.

“The variety of the wrecks and where they were situated made removals extremely complicated. Each one of these vessels was a puzzle unto itself,” said David DeVilbiss, Global Vice President of Casualty and Emergency Response. “There were sunken vessels in the middle of the channel, vessels on breakwaters and vessels that were ashore in shallow and sensitive wetland areas. We made sure we had assembled a  toolbox with a range of capabilities, from the flexi-float barges to the 90- and 300-ton crane barges, and then used the appropriate approach for each casualty. Each job was individually challenging; there were not any two recoveries that were the same.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Attend your regional Area Committee Plan meetings

Do you work directly for or alongside any federal or state environmental/emergency agencies?

Attend your regional Area Committee Plan meetings! 

This is a great way to find out what is happening in your region, meet your regulatory peers, and represent your response industry!

The Northwest Area Committee and Regional Response Team held their quarterly meeting in Portland, Oregon on October 17th.  SCAA members from MSRC, NRC Environmental Services and Global Diving & Salvage received updates from United States Coast Guard Sectors Puget Sound and Columbia River, the United States Environmental Protection  Agency, the Washington State Dept. of Ecology, the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality, and the Idaho Office of Emergency Management.  Specific presentations included an overview of a warehouse fire in downtown Portland that had an asbestos response component, the Columbia River inter-tribal fishing commission summary, and Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance Programs.  The group also reviewed the 2017 task forces on Tribal Outreach, Non Floating Oils, Fire with Environmental Response, the 96 Hour Plan Tool Kit, and In-Situ Burning.

Do any of these topics sound like something the commercial response industry should be more involved with?

The next NWAC event is the annual summit on December 7th in downtown Seattle.

This is an opportunity for the response industry to participate in shaping the topics for discussion in 2018.  Visit https://rrt10nwac.com for more details.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Marine Pollution Control Celebrates 50th Anniversary

SCAA Member Marine Pollution Control is celebrating its 50th Anniversary:

DETROIT, August 14--Detroit’s Marine Pollution Control (MPC), a prominent environmental services company, was started by accident—literally.

In August, 1967, long before oil spills had become much of a concern, the Ford Motor Company spilled about 20,000 gallons of waste oil into the Rouge River.  Uncertain about what to do, Ford personnel met with Dave Usher who, at the time, was hauling waste oil from industrial sites.  Could he clean it up?  Usher did not hesitate:  Sure, he could.  

“I really had no idea about what to do,” said Usher.  “But I bought some vacuum trucks and other equipment and did the job.”

And so, against the backdrop of the Detroit Uprising, Usher created MPC, the first oil spill cleanup company in the Great Lakes and one of the first in the nation.  A Detroit native, Usher remains the company’s Chairman.  Under his watch, MPC has assisted in cleanup of some of the largest oil spills in the world, including the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.  Notably, Usher was asked by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to help guide the clean-up of oil released from sabotaged wells in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm.

Both Usher and MPC are recognized as a pioneers in the spill clean-up industry.  Usher has helped launch key industry trade associations—the Spill Control Association of America, the International Spill Control Organization, and the American Salvage Association.  MPC has grown to 65 employees and has response equipment stored in readiness at 18 locations in the U.S. and overseas, including the Netherlands, Singapore, and Hong Kong. 

It has also evolved into a land response and industrial services business, cleaning up pipeline, highway and industrial spills, and cleaning facilities and hauling liquid wastes for manufacturers. Most recently it has begun cleaning wind turbines and towers.

“We are extremely proud of our history and that fact we remain a one of the leading environmental services company in the world,” said Charles Usher, MPC president. “We’re also proud that of all missions embraced by the company, none supersedes our commitment to worker safety

MPC’s headquarters are located on Jefferson Avenue in southwest Detroit on the banks of the Rouge River.  It also has a satellite location in Holland, Michigan.

MPC spill response barge BUDA II underway in the Straits of Mackinac

Charlie Usher, President, and David Usher, Chairman, in China to visit MPC customer

Friday, August 25, 2017

SCAA Members Respond to Train Derailment in Hyndman, PA on August 2

A train derailment in Hyndman, PA resulted in fire and various commodities spilled.  SCAA members HEPACO and EMS were involved in this response.

Thirty-two cars of a 178-car CSX train jumped the tracks at about 5 a.m. Wednesday.  Rail cars containing propane and sulfur caught fire.  At least one residence was destroyed when it was struck by a derailed car of the CSX freight train that went off the tracks at the northern edge of this Bedford County town about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  Residents were forced to evacuate.

Click here to view the article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spirit of Sacramento - San Francisco Bay

When the sternwheeler Spirit of Sacramento sank to the bottom of the San Francisco Bay last fall with reported diesel fuel aboard, SCAA member Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. was called in to salvage the vessel.

Teams immediately evaluated the site to mitigate environmental hazards, and a dive team conducted an underwater survey to identify any exterior damage. With no evidence of damage to the hull, the team determined the best option would be to lift and refloat the vessel.

The surrounding environment posed several challenges; the Spirit of Sacramento sank in an area called False River, known for strong currents of up to two-and-a-half knots. There’s also a short slack water window in the area, with just 15 to 20 minutes between high and low tide.

When Global first arrived at the scene, the vessel was completely capsized with its keel visible above the water, so the team planned to roll it over onto its keel and lift it. After leaving overnight and returning the next morning however, the Spirit of Sacramento was sitting on its side.

“The current had somehow rolled the vessel over 90 degrees, which vastly changed the scope of the project,” said Global Salvage Officer Kyle Watson. “That was a bit of a curveball that came up in the middle of the job. We had to readjust our plan midstream. It actually made the job easier, but it was still something we had to adapt to.”

The since the vessel was only meant to travel on protected waters it was very lightly built; the crew had to rig the vessel carefully to keep it intact during lifting. They reinforced the hull to keep it from collapsing, fabricating the pieces they needed on-site.

Due to the size of the vessel, Global enlisted a derrick barge to perform the heavy lifting. The vessel was successfully parbuckled, with no damage and no release of fuel. Because of a lack of facilities in the area that could handle a vessel of that size, the Spirit of Sacramento was towed 56 miles to an Army Corps of Engineers dock in Sausalito. The vessel only had 3 to 4 inches of free board, so the long tow had to be performed very carefully.

Despite it being a long and difficult haul through the busy Bay Area, Global delivered the Spirit of Sacramento to Sausalito without incident. “There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment,” Watson continued. “All the planning, the naval architecture, the engineering, and then the work the divers did – it all came to a head and it worked. That’s definitely a proud moment.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlie Miller retires as CEO of Ecochlor; Steve Candito named as Successor

SCAA Member Steve Candito
Ecochlor, Inc. announced that Charlie Miller has retired as CEO with Steve Candito named as his successor. Steve started his new role on August 8, 2017 with Charlie to assist during the transition.

Tom Perlich, Ecochlor Founder and President, said, “Charlie has been instrumental in Ecochlor’s growth over the last 15 years. During his tenure, we have put together a skilled and experienced team, and find ourselves positioned as a global front-runner in the BWT industry. While Charlie will be missed, I am equally confident in the leadership of his replacement, Steve Candito, as he assumes the role of our new CEO. Steve comes from a strong background in the maritime industry and has an excellent performance record in all that he has undertaken. I look forward to being part of Steve’s vision for Ecochlor’s continued growth!”

Prior to joining Ecochlor, Steve was Founder, President and CEO of Foresea Consulting where he provided various advisory services including strategic planning, regulatory compliance and crisis management to the maritime and environmental communities. Before Foresea, he was President and CEO of National Response Corporation (NRC). During his 20+ years at NRC he grew the business from a start-up to a leading global emergency response and environmental services firm. He has extensive experience with OPA 90 compliance issues with particular focus on vessel owner and insurance matters.

Steve was previously an attorney with Haight Gardner Poor & Havens from 1985 to 1993 where he specialized in maritime litigation and environmental law. He also served as a marine engineer aboard Exxon USA’s domestic tanker fleet. Steve graduated from Hofstra University School of Law and the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

“My entire career has been focused on either working for or assisting shipowners, so when the Ecochlor opportunity presented itself I knew I found a way to continue those efforts within the same network,” said Steve. “The Ecochlor System is different from other ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) because it truly solves a complicated need for vessels with high ballast flow rates without the high-power consumption and space requirements of other technologies. I truly believe that Ecochlor’s BWTS is the best option for most shipowners. With USCG Type Approval imminent, we are getting ready to gear up to manufacture and install a record number of systems in the very near future. It is an exciting time to be part of this great team!”

Monday, July 24, 2017

SCAA President Devin Grennan Interviewed by Greg Leatherman of ECO magazine

The following article was published in ECO (environment coastal & offshore) magazine in their July/August 2017 edition:

An Interview with Devon Grennan:  President of the Spill Control Association of America (SCAA)

ECO Editor, Greg Leatherman, met with Grennan at the International Oil Spill Conference in May 2017 to discuss his work with SCAA and where he sees the organization going in the future.

Read the article from ECO magazine here