Coast Guard to issue report on Cosco Busan response

(ALAMEDA, Calif.) — The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

A team formed here to analyze the response to the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay sent the first of two reports to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. The 112-page report focuses on the first two weeks, or initial phase, of the response to the Nov. 7 spill and was sent to Vice Adm. Robert Papp, the service’s Chief of Staff.

The report was prepared by the Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISPR) team chartered by the Vice Adm. Papp at the direction of the Commandant of the Coast Guard. A second report covering the remainder of the response phase and more long-term response issues is slated to be completed by the ISPR team by May 2008. The team was not tasked with determining the cause of the Cosco Busan incident, but rather was directed to review objectively the response actions undertaken following the incident compared to the plans in effect at the time.

While not an investigation, the ISPR process is an administrative assessment rooted in Coast Guard marine safety directives. It provides a method for outside entities to join the Coast Guard to review the response of the Unified Command to a particular incident. The ISPR focused on two primary areas: preparedness and response. An ISPR report identifies lessons learned and makes recommendations.

“The Coast Guard and our response partners share the public’s concern about environmental protection; indeed, this is a core Coast Guard mission,” said Vice Adm. Charles D. Wurster, Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, whom Papp tasked to oversee the ISPR.

“We welcome the information and recommendations of the review panel and will work as a team to improve our response system in any way possible. Coast Guard partnerships with state and local agencies as well as other organizations and industries are the key to success. The lessons learned in this incident will sharpen our response capabilities in the event of any emergency or other incident,” he said.

Chaired by Rear Adm. Carlton Moore, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve (retired), the ISPR team is comprised of senior representatives from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, California Office of Spill Prevention & Response, Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, City and County of San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration, California Coastkeeper Alliance and San Francisco Baykeepers.

Public release of the report is expected in approximately two weeks.

By Professional Mariner Staff