The Coast Guard Vessel of Opportunity Skimming (VOSS) has recently gone through a consolidation of pollution response equipment to modernize its spill equipment capability for oil spill (containment, skimming, and pumping) to meet the response needs of the future. This paper will review the history of Coast Guard VOSS implementation, deployment during Deep Water Horizon, VOSS consolidation of 15 sites in 2014–2015, and challenges facing Coast Guard VOSS capability gaps in the future. In the aftermath of the EXXON VALDEZ oil spill in 1989, the Coast Guard assessed gaps and deficiencies in the ability of government and private sector resources to fully and adequately respond to major oil spill events. At the time, major gaps were found in the private sector's ability to deliver emergency first response equipment in major port areas. These gaps were addressed by Coast Guard acquisition, pre-positioning and on-going maintenance of VOSS systems & other equipment. Regulatory regimes were created and the Coast Guard created a system for determining the ability of the private sector to respond to a worst case discharge (WCD) including Title 33 CFR Parts 154 and 155 requiring facility and vessel response plan holders to have plans and contracts for privately owned pollution response equipment sufficient to respond to a WCD. The regulations have resulted in the increased capacity of Oil Spill Response Organization (OSRO) in the coastal areas of the continental United States. The Deepwater Horizon response in 2010 was the largest pollution response equipment deployment by private and government resources in the nation's history. Most Coast Guard VOSS systems were deployed in response to Deepwater Horizon. The growth of spill response equipment by the private sector and lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon VOSS spill deployment were utilized to support the consolidation of VOSS equipment in the continental United States while maintaining VOSS capacity in remote areas.
Coast Guard Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS), Past, Present and Future of meeting Service spill response needs (containment, skimming, and pumping)
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Mike Crickard, Tim Gunter; Coast Guard Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS), Past, Present and Future of meeting Service spill response needs (containment, skimming, and pumping). International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings 1 May 2017; 2017 (1): 2017023. doi: https://doi.org/10.7901/2169-3358-2017.1.000023
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