The Coast Guard Office of Marine Environmental Response hosted the 3rd Annual Offshore Training Symposium May 8, 2017, featuring representatives from the Coast Guard’s Outer Continental Shelf National Center of Expertise (OCS NCOE), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC), an independent company that provides well containment equipment and services to deepwater operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
In opening remarks to the participants, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy, noted, “We are all faced with issues of ever increasing capacity challenges and complexity in the Outer Continental Shelf operating environment. We must be prepared for more drilling to occur in places where the operational risks are higher and existing response infrastructure is less. It’s up to all of us to maintain vigilance.”
During the symposium, attendees were afforded the opportunity to receive information from experts in the off-shore prevention, preparedness, and response communities. The goals for the symposium were to promote: (1) a common understanding of federal policies, responsibilities, and operations related to Outer Continental Shelf drilling activities; (2) collaboration among regulators and industry to further offshore safety, security, and environmental stewardship; and (3) discussion of the unique challenges maritime industry faces in the complex OCS environment.
The symposium included a series of briefs from Coast Guard staff and other participants. Staff from the OCS NCOE discussed current initiatives, specialized fleets, and complexities found when operating in the OCS. BSEE provided an overview of relevant regulations affecting subsea containment, the role of the source control support coordinator, and inspection and exercise practices. NOAA discussed the roles and responsibilities of the scientific support coordinator during a response, and an overview of data management protocols and practices. Finally, a representative from MWCC briefed participants on the company’s background, response models, available containment systems and deployment, and emerging technology.
The Coast Guard’s Director of Incident Management and Preparedness Policy, Ms. Dana Tulis, said in her closing remarks, “It’s amazing how far we’ve come since Deepwater Horizon. New regulations, increased in house expertise throughout the federal government, advancements in science and technology, and marine well containment capabilities all build confidence that we’re well positioned to respond if something happens. However, we are in a time of expansion and industry innovation so we need to remain vigilant in what we’re doing and remember the importance of it.”
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