ABSTRACT

The Poseidon Pipeline spill case study provides an excellent example of coordination within the Unified Command during response to an offshore oil spill where dispersants were used as the primary mitigation tool. Dispersants are an effective tool to mitigate oil spills if certain specific criteria are met, including an acceptable oil type, the application of dispersants is a preferred environmental trade-off to potential shoreline impacts, rapid approval is possible, and a dispersant delivery system is available. In the Gulf of Mexico, offshore pre-approval has been given to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) by the Regional Response Team (RRT). If the FOSC determines that the oil threatens sensitive coastal areas, he can grant approval quickly. As demonstrated in the Poseidon Pipeline spill case study, good field intelligence; accurate aerial observation information; close coordination between the responsible party (RP), state, FOSC, and their spill management teams; readily available dispersant application resources; and trained observers and monitoring teams are key elements to effective and environmentally beneficial dispersant applications.

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