Vessel Response Plan

Annual Summary

2018 Plan Updates

The MFSA Plan is reviewed regularly and updated at least annually to ensure it stays in compliance and up-to-date.  In 2018 in addition to this standard update, the following changes were made and approved by Oregon and Washington:

  • Increase of the worst-case discharge volume from 300,000 barrels to 350,000 barrels.  This volume more closely matches the typical capacity of the tankers that call on the river system.
  • Name change from Merchants Exchange Communications Department to Marine Operations Service Department. The Merchants Exchange renamed this department to better match the type of services they provide to their members.
  • Change in authorized designee from MFSA Executive Director to MFSA General Manager. A minor modification that reflects the staff reorganization the MFSA Board of Directors put into place earlier this year.
  • Update the spill management team to reflect the hiring of Clean River’s new General Manager, Casey Comer.
  • Update the equipment lists to include the addition of improved skimming equipment.


Plan activations in 2018

Calendar year 2018 saw the MFSA Umbrella Vessel Response Plan activated only 4 times.


March 8, 2018 – The MFSA plan was activated for the grounding of a covered vessel near river mile 20.0.  The empty ship was anchored at Tongue Point anchorage when the anchor dragged and put the vessel into sandy mud bank.  MFSA’s on duty ISRC and Clean Rivers responded, mobilizing the FRV Protector.  Clean Rivers completed initial assessment and found no oil sheen in the water.  The response vessel remained on standby until tugs were able to assist the vessel off the bank at high tide.  After further inspection for pollution found none response was terminated.

March 8, 2018 – While transiting outbound with a load of petcoke, the covered vessel experienced a loss of propulsion at approximately 6:30 PM just below the Lewis & Clark bridge on the Columbia River.  The ship had just departed from berth in Longview, and nearby tugs were able to assist the vessel back to dock.  The Plan was activated and the ISRC contacted.  It was determined that there was no pollution as a result of the loss of propulsion, so no assets were deployed.  The vessel was repaired.

June 6, 2018 – A bulk cargo vessel was loading corn in Vancouver, WA when it reported sheen in the water.  The plan was activated by the vessel agent.  The on duty ISRC called out a response.  Clean Rivers mobilized the MFSA1 to deploy boom around the vessel.  The pollution appeared to be hydraulic fluid from the heat exchange tube, and the boom was maintained in place until repairs could be completed. 

December 11, 2018 – An empty ship was maneuvering into the anchorage near Longview, WA to wait prior to taking its load when it experienced a loss of propulsion.  The vessel agent called to activate the plan for the covered vessel.  The ISRC on call responded to the incident.  It was determined that there was no pollution as a result of the loss of propulsion, so no assets were deployed. 


Drills and Exercises during 2018

State regulations require a minimum of three drills or exercises each year to demonstrate the Plan’s ability to respond to a spill. 


Wildlife Equipment Deployment—7/12/2018

MFSA/Clean Rivers participated in this equipment deployment at the Satsop Business Park in Elma, where neatly arranged tents and trailers held everything that experts would need to evaluate, treat and save oiled wildlife.  There were areas set aside for medical evaluations, a laboratory, and all of the equipment and supplies to do the job – plastic wash tubs, baby cribs, playpens, pet carriers, blow dryers, and cooling fans.


Tabletop Exercise—8/2/2018

MFSA’s tabletop exercise was held on August 2nd at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, WA.  The scenario involved a fictitious tug and barge that experienced a loss of steering that struck an uncharged, submerged object, spilling 50 barrels of IFO.  The exercise was attended by MFSA/Merchants Exchange staff, contractors, WA Department of Ecology, OR Department of Environmental Quality and the USCG.


Multi Plan-holder Drill—October 2018

Washington Department of Ecology took the lead in facilitating this exercise in the Vancouver area.  It focused on the functional ability for multiple contingency plans to be simultaneously activated to test dedicated equipment and trained personnel. 

Companies who were involved included the Maritime Fire & Safety Association, Tidewater Terminals, BNSF Railway Company, Tesoro, Olympic Pipeline, NuStar Energy, Harley Marine Services, Polar Tankers and Alaska Tanker Company.

Participating spill response contractors included Clean Rivers Cooperative, Marine Spill Response Corporation, Clean Harbors, National Response Corporation, and Tidewater Environmental Services.

MFSA took part with many other entities in an Ecology hosted large scale “multi plan holder” deployment exercise on October 10, 2018.  This drill involved

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MFSA’s annual tabletop exercise was held 8/2/2018 in Vancouver, WA.

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The MFSA plan was activated for a suspected stern tube leak at a vessel at berth. An MFSA ISRC and Clean Rivers Response Manager responded,

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The MFSA plan was activated for vessel grounding. The anchor slipped and put the vessel into sandy mud bank. An MFSA ISRC and Clean Rivers

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Maritime Fire & Safety Association

200 SW Market St., Ste 190, Portland, OR 97201

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