With the burgeoning forecasts of oil production and transportation in the cold weather regions-especially Alaska-expectations of spills in the fragile and hostile arctic environment must increase. The Coast Guard, responsible for maritime pollution control, has stepped up its arctic pollution surveillance and response research and development Field experiments on the behavior of oil-one under summer conditions in 1970, and another under winter conditions in 1972-have been run. These indicated that oil spreads at a much slower rate under arctic conditions, and that it pooled on and under the ice. Oil is quickly covered by snow, but the resulting mulch is easily handled by mechanical means. Burning was always a readily available and effective alternate means of removal. Off-the-shelf equipment was evaluated in 1973, resulting in a number of conclusions concerning barriers and moorings, oil recovery systems, and personnel. Based on this field evaluation, there will be additional oil/ice tests of recovery devices.
*The opinions contained herein are the private ones of the writer and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or the Coast Guard at large.