Page 25: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (July 2018)

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New Spill Tech Solutions

Like a snowflake, No two oil spills are alike. Constant vigilance is Required

BY JANE DELGADO o two oil spill response facility manager. “Private companies, tagging system equipped with a Wave operations are the foreign government agencies, and uni- Characterization Module (WCM). same. Each can present versities use the facility to test equip- When mounted to a skimmer, the tag- new and even tougher ment, evaluate acquisition options, and ging system characterizes the motion of challenges for spill re- to validate research ? ndings.” ocean waves, tracks the skimmer loca-

N sponders as they detect, contain and Ohmsett’s most notable feature is the tion, and transmits the information to recover spilled oil. Diverse aspects af- above-ground concrete test tank mea- the operators and to other personnel in fecting oil spill response operations can suring 667 feet long by 65 feet wide by remote locations. be the physical environment, spill mon- 8 feet deep ? lled with 2.6 million gal- “This project will enhance the lat- itoring, use of chemical dispersants, lons of crystal clear salt water. The fa- est generation of GRID technology and the availability of proper technol- cility is equipped with a wave generator, and allow local oil spill responders to ogy for the situation. three movable bridges with tow speeds measure wave characteristics to ? nesse

Some challenges have been met of up to 6 knots, an oil/water chemistry their skimming operations,” said Karen through research and technology devel- laboratory, and a control tower that is Stone, BSEE oil spill response engi- opment of techniques for dealing with fully computerized for collecting data neer. “It will also transmit data to in- spills. However, developing new tech- from various sensors and video cameras cident commanders during spill opera- nology can be a challenge in itself since for synthesis and analysis. tions to allow for real-time operational many countries prohibit open-water As the response industry demands awareness.” equipment testing or response training more advanced and innovative oil spill The AECOM team, led by Ben with oil. Unlike smaller facilities that technologies, BSEE has supported Schreib, evaluated the GRID system rely on scale models and oil surrogates, emerging technology development by mounted to a skimmer in wave condi-

Ohmsett – The National Oil Spill Re- funding multiple projects at Ohmsett. tions in the Ohmsett test basin. AECOM sponse Research & Renewable Energy Most recently, research included a and their subcontractors, Midstream

Test Facility conducts testing, training Geo-Referencing Identi? cation tagging and Envigia, also developed a free- and research with full scale equipment system equipped with a Wave Charac- ? oating WCM-buoy to calculate wave using real oil in repeatable simulated terization Module, diminishing slick conditions. During the evaluation, the sea conditions. Managed by the Bureau thickness tests, mechanical recovery of WCM and GRID tagging systems was of Safety and Environmental Enforce- treated but undispersed oil, and remote attached to a commercially available ment (BSEE), Ohmsett is committed to sensing of oil slicks. skimmer and subjected to varying wave helping improve the methods and tech- conditions, while two WCM-buoys nologies available for oil spill detec- Geo-Referencing Identi? cation identi? ed wave height, wavelength and tion, containment, and removal. It pro- tagging system period. In order to collect compara- vides the Bureau and other facility users The ability to remotely track wave tive wave data, the two WCM buoys from around the world with a unique conditions during skimming operations were operated separately in the same oil spill response testing and training could give responders a better under- area as the skimmer. Through a mesh environment that simulates real-world standing of the environment in real- network over WiFi, AECOM was able conditions in a safe and controlled en- time and improve operations during a to communicate the skimmer position vironment. “Even though Ohmsett is a spill incident. In an effort to advance and wave information to a tablet with a government operated facility, it is not these tools, BSEE funded AECOM, of custom-made user interface application exclusively for use by U.S. government Gaithersburg, Maryland, to develop a and via satellite to a web-based GIS in- agencies,” says John Delia, Ohmsett Geo-Referencing Identi? cation (GRID) terface platform.

A tagging system equipped with a wave characterization module is mounted to a skimmer to track the skimmer location and wave conditions during spill response operations. 25

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