Coast Guard conducts oil boom exercise in New York
By BRIAN MOLONGOSKI | Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. | Published: August 23, 2017
CLAYTON, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Coast Guard conducted an oil boom deployment drill in the St. Lawrence River outside Clayton Tuesday morning.
An oil boom is a temporary floating barrier deployed to prevent the spread of contaminants in water, including oil, in the event that a ship is damaged or has run aground. The boom is unspooled from a ship and placed around the contaminated area so clean up is easier to manage.
This is the second time this year that the Coast Guard has conducted this drill in the area in partnership with the New York Department of Conservation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others.
Since 2012, there have been more than a dozen ship groundings in the St. Lawrence River. While none of the groundings have caused severe environmental damage, this has still increased the demand for readiness in case such a ship were to spill its oil into the river.
Coast Guard Cmdr. Tad F. Drozdowski, Buffalo, said executing the drill here was a chance for the Coast Guard and its partners to test out its strategies for protecting the local environment in the event of a spill.
“I think it’s a very good opportunity to bring all of our partners together on the water and using the resources from the town of Clayton, from the state DEC, our auxiliary, our multi-mission boat stations to bring to bear all of the resources that would be able to assist protecting the natural resources of this area,” Mr. Drozdowski said.
While a landing craft vessel, called the Maple Groove, was used to carry out the oil boom drill, several Coast Guard Auxiliary boats surrounded the ship so the drill could be observed from afar by local officials and community members.
Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, attended the drill, saying she was happy to see the Coast Guard teaming up with locals to prepare for potential disasters on the St. Lawrence River.
“It’s very important that we are ready for an emergency such as this so we don’t have catastrophic damage to the river,” Ms. Jenne said, noting that the river is particularly important to the local economy and recreation.