MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
civilians with the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort fuels sections and the
Natural Resources Environmental Affairs Office completed a week-long Facility
Response Team course increasing proficiency in nautical spill response
procedures aboard the air station Nov. 2-6.
instructed Marines on how to evaluate environmental and nautical conditions and
tactics in order to quickly respond to an oil spill in the waterways leading to
the air station.
“It’s a five-day class
to requalify and qualify as Facility Response Team responders,” said Billy
Drawdy, the natural resources and environmental affairs officer. “They gain the
basic knowledge of how to respond to a spill properly, and the class provides
them with information and training that is specific to Beaufort.”
culminated with a simulated oil spill aboard the air station Nov. 4. The
exercise required multiple boats and two different teams; the facility response
team and the spill management team.
“We are simulating
a worst case scenario fuel release from the fuel barge,” said Corey Jackson,
the documentation unit leader for the spill management team. “What we’re doing
is activating the facility response team. Their responsibility is to respond to
the oil spill as quickly as possible.”
The spill is
simulated by placing yellow blocks that float on the water. They boat crews
locate the blocks on the water and conduct shoreline protection by using a containment
tool called a boom. The boom is towed behind the boats and acts as a large net,
trapping the oil.
primary configuration is the U-shape,” said Jackson. “This formation captures
the oil by using the tide to our advantage. The oil floats right into our
U-shaped trap and is held there. Then our skimmer boat comes and pulls the oil
off of the water.”
The skimmer, a boat equipped with
an oil recovery system, helps filter oil contamination in the water and is one
of many assets in the MCAS Beaufort’s arsenal for protecting the waterways.
“Once the oil is collected and the skimmer is back on shore, pump trucks empty the
tank and dispose of the oil,” said Jackson.
simultaneously is the activation of the spill management team. Their job is to
collect all the data to find out what actually occurred to cause the spill.
management team puts together a response plan to minimize environmental impact
and clean our waters as efficiently as possible,” said Jackson.
According to the
air station’s fuel division the primary method of fuel delivery is via barge
over the waterways, making the training not only essential but proactive for
any emergency situation on base.
“The base is a
unique setting, it handles a lot of fuel surrounded by a pristine environment
so whenever there’s a threat, a facility response team is trained up and ready
to go,” said Drawdy. “You learn to take responsibility for spills that may
occur at your facility and do what you can for immediate and effective
“Part of Marine
Corps mission is to not leave a big footprint,” said Drawdy. “You need to have
some people trained up and ready to respond. This area is pristine and needs to