U.S.A., Washington, Seattle, March 7, 2013 - For the first time nearly 20 years, a new video on best practices for bunkering operations (the transfer of fuel to a vessel) has been released. Entitled Bunkering Best Practices: Protecting People and the Environment, the 14-minute training video is the result of cooperative efforts from members of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, including Alaska, British Columbia, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, in conjunction with Maritime Training Services in Seattle.
The idea for the project originated with the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in California. Ted Mar, Chief of OSPR Marine Safety, says "After a high-profile oil spill resulted from a bunkering operation in San Francisco Bay in 2009, the OSPR Administrator asked California's five Harbor Safety Committees (HSC) to develop 'Best Bunkering Practices.' Once developed, the HSC's thought a video might be the most effective way to communicate these best bunkering practices to the maritime community."
Funded by the Pacific States and BC OSTF, and led by the California OSPR and Washington Department of Ecology, the new video demonstrates bunkering best practices applicable to the aforementioned states and British Columbia, with a section on state-specific regulations for Washington and California.
The new bunkering video presents the steps of a safe oil transfer procedure, the components of a pre-loading plan and inspections, and emphasizes how to avoid distractions during the transfer process. The producers of the film state that proper crew training, including knowing when and why to shut down a bunkering operation, will result in reduced oil spills caused by human error.
"The OSPR believes that following the bunkering best practices presented in this video will help prevent spills during bunkering operations, providing the best achievable protection to the West Coast's natural resources," said Ted Mar.
The documentary-style video includes interviews with government officials, tug and barge operators, and tanker men, which helps inform crews on board arriving vessels about bunkering regulations in the regions mentioned above.
Chip Boothe, Spills Prevention Section Manager for the Washington Department of Ecology, said, "While vessel accidents may have the greatest potential for catastrophic oil spills, bunkering operation spills are the most predominant source of oil pollution from commercial vessels. If every vessel crew followed these common sense practices for their bunkering operations, it would prevent the principal source of commercial vessel oil spills occurring within our ports."
A single oil spill can cost millions of dollars in clean up expenses, provoke harsh regulatory responses, and increase monitoring and limits on bunkering operations. By practicing the responsible oil transfer procedures outlined in Bunkering Best Practices: Protecting People and the Environment, companies and crews can help prevent costly and dangerous spills.
Download a free copy on the Task Force website here