By Lt. Jason Dudell NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER PEARL HARBOR
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor’s Fuel Department participated in its annual fuel spill response exercise, Oct. 9.
This year’s scenario involved an emergency response to a simulated instantaneous release from a double hull fuel barge parked across from the USS Arizona Memorial, posing a hazard to wildlife, habitats, and tourism along the nearby shoreline and potentially the greater Oahu, Hawaii area.
The fuel operators immediately deployed release containment booms around the barge to restrict the spread of fuel and mitigate the release. Simultaneously recovery began with the use of multiple fuel skimmer systems to recover the release. Following these, the team set up a chemical wash down station for the quick decontamination of any personnel who could potentially be exposed to fuel if this was a real incident.
In high temperatures and humidity, the exercise participants worked through AROUND NAVSUP various challenges presented by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy training team, accomplishing each of the evolution’s objectives with zeal and expertise.
In the course of the exercise, the fuel operators also utilized open sourced Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping capabilities to depict the simulated fuel spill in a detailed manner. The system allowed the team to identify fuel lines, water, storm drainage, and elevation of topography to create a realistic tabletop exercise. The GIS also integrated critical data from other agency’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pacific Disaster Center, and Environmental Protection Agency) driving a common operating picture. The result provided all exercise participants better situational awareness as well as giving a broader outlook and perspective of all surrounding areas.
During the after action review, the fuel team identified additional methods and capabilities to further protect the environment and contain the simulated spill had it been more severe. One solution was the deployment of two additional booms, each 1,000 feet long, in order to stop the flow of fuel from leaving the channel separating Ford Island and Pearl Harbor.
“Although this is an annual requirement, the greatest benefit of these drills is to demonstrate to ourselves that we have capability and expertise to solve the most realistic scenarios possible,” said John Floyd, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor fuels deputy director.
Among the hands-on responders, personnel from the U.S. Air Force, DLA Energy, and Pearl Harbor’s Port Operations attended the drill as observers. These external stakeholders brought with them information and support which greatly enhanced the educational experience as well as future response capabilities of the operators involved.
The training provided by DLA focused and drilled heavily on stopping, isolating, and recovering the spill as early as possible. Carefully planned and executed, the exercise was comprised of complex and in-depth stages focused on response, notification, organizational duties, containment, cleanup, and remediation procedures on par with private industry and Department of Defense (DoD) disaster relief organizations.
NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor’s Fuel Department is the DoD’s largest fuel terminal, storing and issuing petroleum products in support of fuel requirements across Hawaii as well as the Indo-Pacific Region. As the Navy’s mission around the globe evolves, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor’s specialized fuel technicians play a critical role in ensuring operational agility and around-the-clock support.