The Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Jacksonville, Fla. Petroleum Operations team at Navy Fuel Depot (NFD) Jacksonville recently leapt into action in response to an oil spill in October.
The response however, was simulated, and was actually a part of Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)-Energy’s annual Oil Spill Response Training held at Navy Fuel Terminals throughout the world.
This year’s training was designed to gauge team proficiency in small-scale casualty responsiveness and to refresh personnel in emergency response procedures.
NFD Jacksonville serves a wide variety of customers on a daily basis. In any given month, the fuel depot will deliver about five million gallons of fuel, via truck or barge, to various airfields, ships, and military sites within a 350-mile radius.
Considering this expansive customer base, the Fuel Depot is ideally located at the confluence of the Trout and St. Johns rivers; the intersection of the rivers creates a major waterway capable of handling the deep draft fuel tankers and barges. The Fuel Depot is linked to the waterway and surrounding wetlands by six storm water drainage ditches. Due to NFD Jacksonville being surrounded by such an ecologically fragile environment, extreme attention is given to prevent any potential fuel accidents from polluting the delicate wetlands. In fact, due to these environmental factors, all the drills performed at NFD Jacksonville focus on first protecting the environment, and then beginning product recovery efforts.
The two-day annual drill simulated a tanker truck rolling onto its side, spilling 2,000 gallons into the drainage ditch about 40 yards upstream of the river. The drill began with the ringing of the internal alarm, instantly spurring all personnel to leap into action.
In the Control Center, Fuel Controller Ken Mayo immediately stopped all fuel pumping operations in the facility. Operations Foreman, Patrick Villa, directed Operators Dwayne Thomas and Nate Jones to simulate applying absorbent padding at the mouth of the outfall ditch, and at various points upstream to prevent petroleum from running into the river. Meanwhile, the rest of the team imitated retrieving heavy equipment to fill in areas of the ditch to contain the spill.
After they secured the environment from further contamination, Fuel Operators David Lewis, Danny Jimenez, and Mike Bruzga retrieved the vacuum trucks and skimmers to begin product recovery. Fuel Site Responsible Officer, Bob Salgado, and site Engineers Wayne Wragg, Jake Schmaltz, and Joe Marshall were responsible for contacting relevant city and federal authorities. They also provided oversight, ensuring the response efforts were in line with the drafted Facility Response Plan. The field exercise lasted about two hours, followed by a lessons-learned meeting to discuss improvements needed for future responses.
The NFD Jacksonville team completed the drill with flying colors, proving once again their exceptional proficiency in all aspects of fuel supply. The DLA Energy Oil Spill Response Training inspector noted how all personnel knew exactly what to do, and was impressed with the team’s “safety responses and enthusiasm.”
“This was a great team building exercise that was critical for the continued development and education of the personnel at the Fuel Depot,” explained Lt. Cmdr. Michael Lorrain, NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville Code 700 Fuel Department Head.
“The drill served to sharpen our emergency response procedures and encouraged teamwork to solve problems,” he added. “No matter the situation, the professionals at Navy Fuel Depot Jacksonville have proven their readiness to respond with precision and expertise in the face of any disaster.”
By Lt. j.g. Joe Murphy, SC, USN
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville Corporate Communications