Dubai Star Hotwash

Thanksgiving has come and gone – the Warnock clan had a good one, birded in southern Arizona (best bird of trip was a pair of Black-capped Gnatcatchers at Florida Wash) and got to see our friends in Phoenix.

Just before we left for break, OWCN (with assistance from Yvonne Addassi of OSPR) had what we call a hotwash to discuss the Dubai Star spill.  We have these after every spill we respond to. During the hotwash, we discuss what went well during the spill response and what we think we could do better in future spills.

From the perspective of the Recovery and Transportation side of the spill here is a sample of the things that we thought went well:

  • Diverse group of skilled responders (as I said before, PRBO and IBBRC have incredible people)
  • Good recovery teams, they worked well together  and communicate well with each other as well as R&T OWCN staff
  • We established our presence quickly and quickly mobilized (~3hrs)
  • Great facility for R&T staging area (East Bay Regional Parks).  Excellent cooperation from that group as well.
  • Reasonable response types: boats, kayaks, night ops, net-launcher
  • Communication from the field to the Command Post was effective and efficient.  Quick response time for clean-up crews and field teams

Here is a sample of the things that we thought we could improve on:

  • Better communication (did well in some places but various ways where we think we can improve)
  • Hotline could be easier to navigate
  • Equipment and vehicle bottleneck
  • All key capture equipment not assembled in one place
  • Need a dedicated R&T vehicle

Now we are working on prioritizing our actions on things to improve.  First on our list is getting a dedicated R&T vehicle.  This will allow us to quickly deploy with all of our essential response equipment in one place and it also gives us more flexibility in conveying information and equipment to crews in the field.  One type of vehicle we are looking at is the Dodge Sprinter van.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how R&T might improve response during oil spills, please drop me a line.

– Nils

and a last photo from the Dubai Star response:

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