As of January 2018, Alaska Chadux has retainers with 46 Vessels of Opportunity (VOOs) in numerous Alaskan port cities, including Kodiak, King Cove, Dutch Harbor, Valdez, Nome, Seward, Homer, Whittier, and Cordova.
Each year, Chadux conducts VOO training and exercises to ensure vessel crews are familiar with Chadux response equipment, recovery tactics and safety requirements.
Chadux tracks the status of program vessels and provides appropriate safety and operational training for vessel owners and their crew. By establishing agreements with vessel owners prior to incidents, Chadux can ensure timely and effective response capabilities compliant with state and federal regulations.
- Provide reliable and timely access to response vessels
- Ensure contract vessel crews are trained in the use of Chadux equipment and tactics
- Ensure risks and liabilities to Chadux, vessel owners, and RPs are minimized
- Support Chadux on-water operational requirements during incidents, exercises, and drills
- Promote safe, effective, cost-effective, and regulatory compliant response activities using trained vessel operators
- Quantify Chadux on-water response capabilities, allowing them to be referenced to meet Chadux member planning standards
Vessel Response Tactics
Chadux personnel deploy and operate all response equipment; vessel operators and crew serve vessel operation duties only, unless they have received appropriate training.
Chadux uses Vessels of Opportunity for the following tactics:
- Containment booming, diversion booming, and exclusion booming: vessels may be used to deploy, anchor, and maintain boom. Boom operations will be conducted by smaller vessels or vessels with limited deck space. Skiffs may be deployed from larger vessels to set boom in shallow waters or close quarter areas.
- On water free oil recovery/ marine recovery: tactics may involve U or J booming, Chadux’s boom arm system (VOSS package), or an Ocean or Harbor Buster to concentrate oil for recovery. Each vessel of opportunity can carry and deploy a single recovery system (skimmer, containment boom, and storage) or work with other vessels to concentrate spilled oil for recovery.Temporary storage of recovered product will be provided by bladders, tanks, or barges.
- Related activity support: vessels may be used to provide wildlife capture and rehab personnel with a work platform or be used to move supplies and waste products.
Vessels participating in the Chadux VOO program undergo a vetting process and are pre-contracted to simplify the mobilization process in the event of an incident. However, vessels in the program are not obligated to respond should Chadux require their services. To improve the probability of being able to hire a vessel on short notice, Chadux works to maintain a 2-1 redundancy in the number of vessels in each region.
Safe and effective response operations are a primary objective during every incident. Chadux strives to create a safe working environment by training vessel operators and crews, pre-inspecting vessels prior to operations, and keeping track of vessels during a response through constant communications and AIS. Additionally, Chadux relies on the local knowledge of each vessel operator to help Chadux response team members determine which operations can be conducted safely each day.
Equipment Transport and Staging
Larger vessels capable of transporting and storing equipment may be used to support response operations. These vessels typically have an extended range and are capable of providing fuel and water to smaller response vessels.