Tankers to draw down oil at terminal threatened by Alaska volcano

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:


(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — After a major eruption Saturday and continuing unrest at Mt. Redoubt volcano, the Unified Command, Drift River Terminal Coordination, has agreed to suspend Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company (CIPL) operations.

The Unified Command has authorized plans to draw down oil from the Drift River Terminal starting today. A tanker is tentatively scheduled to arrive this afternoon at the Christy Lee platform to begin drawdown operations. The envisioned operation will reduce the current oil levels in the two active storage tanks. The goal is to reduce crude oil by about 60 percent overall. After modifications to the facility, ballast water will be added to each tank to maintain their integrity.

Oil removal operations remain dependent on weather conditions and volcanic activity as well as equipment functionally.

“The top priorities of the Unified Command are protecting the health and safety of people and the environment and we believe this is the best option for achieving those priorities,†said Gary Folley, state on scene coordinator, Unified Command.

“Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company will not accept oil shipments for storage or transport until Mt. Redoubt volcanic activity ceases,” said Rod Ficken, vice president, Cook Inlet Pipeline Company, Unified Command. “Long term plans for Cook Inlet shipping are being evaluated.â€

“This remains a dynamic situation,” said Capt. Mark Hamilton, federal on-scene coordinator, Unified Command. “Detailed planning is essential to minimize threats and maximize operational success.”

A press conference will be held at the Alaska Volcano Observatory Monday, April 6, at 1:00 p.m. to provide an update on the progress of this operation.

For more information please visit: the Coast Guard District 17 website at http://www.uscgalaska.com or the State of Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation Site at http://www.dec.state.ak.us/spar/perp/response/sum_fy09/090324201/090324201_index.htm.

By Professional Mariner Staff