Council issues position on safe crude oil tanker transit and escort vessel operation in the Sound

The Council voted unanimously on January 18, 2018, to pass a resolution stating that oil tankers and escort vessels should not be permitted to transit through Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska in weather conditions which have been determined by industry to be unsafe for training.

The resolution was prompted by the upcoming change in marine service contract providers by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, including crude oil tanker escort vessel services, effective July 2018. Council executive director Donna Schantz stated, “The oil tanker escort system in Prince William Sound is an essential oil spill prevention measure that is vital to reducing the risk of another catastrophic event, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.”

“If it is unsafe to train personnel, it is unsafe to transport oil,” said Council Board president Amanda Bauer. “This position does not just apply to the incoming contractor, but sets the standard to which the council feels all future new contractors, equipment and crews should be held. We believe strongly that these standards are needed to ensure the economic and environmental safety of the communities and groups we represent.” Continue reading

Board of Directors meeting in Anchorage

The Council’s Board of Directors met on Thursday and Friday, January 18 and 19 at the Embassy Suites in Anchorage (Map).

Items on the agenda included:

  • Presentations by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Council regarding the change in Alyeska’s marine services contract provider from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore set to take place July 1, 2018. These services include key oil spill prevention and response assets such as escort tugs, oil recovery barges and associated personnel for service in Prince William Sound.
  • A proposed board resolution regarding safe crude oil tanker operation in Prince William Sound, related to the marine services transition. DRAFT resolution. Updated information on final resolution: Council issues position on safe crude oil tanker transit and escort vessel operation in the Sound
  • A presentation by Glosten and Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network on research and development of a two-part ship arrest system, used to slow down the movement of a disabled vessel.
  • A presentation by Council staff on the status of amendments to the Prince William Sound Tanker Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan and Alyeska’s Valdez Marine Terminal Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan. This will include an update on the status of the request for adjudicatory hearing regarding the terminal plan, which was submitted to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation jointly by the Council, the City of Valdez, and Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation.
  • A presentation by Philip Johnson, Department of the Interior, on the Alaska Regional Response Team’s development of dispersant use avoidance areas.
  • A summary by Council staff of incidents (e.g., oil spills, fires, malfunctions causing shutdowns, navigational closures, tanker/escort problems) for the terminal or tankers that have occurred in 2017.

Meeting documents:

Digital Packet:

  • Download: Computer and E-Reader Friendly Digital Packet 
  • This large document can be viewed on your computer, or downloaded to your favorite e-reading device.  There are links on the agenda to take you to individual briefing sheets.  Bookmarks have also been created for each briefing sheet and their attachment.  Click on the ribbon tab on the left-hand side of the page to make the bookmarks visible (while in Adobe Reader).


Science Night 2017

Where humpback whales hang out in Prince William Sound, by season. Image from "We are watching" presentation by Mandy Lindeberg.

Where humpback whales hang out in Prince William Sound, by season. Image from “We are watching” presentation by Mandy Lindeberg.

The Council had some great presentations at our recent Science Night! See the list below for the presenter’s slides.


Want to get notifications for next year’s event? Email Shawna Popovici to be added to the list!