MIAMI– The US Coast Guard and its federal, state, and local partner agencies are updating readiness response plans in the event of an oil spill in international waters. One driving factor is the prospect of drilling offshore Cuba.
This planning is on two levels. The local southern Florida Coast Guard facilities are updating area contingency plans for near-shore and onshore response along the Florida coast in the 7th Coast Guard District coverage.
Secondly, work is under way on an Offshore Drill Response Plan and Regional Contingency Plan for operations, strategies, and tactics to combat a spill at sea.
The planning has involved more than 80 Coast Guard representatives plus officials from southern Florida coast counties; departments of Commerce, Defense, NOAA, BSEE, Treasury, and EPA; Florida state environmental management and protection departments; and others. This group conducted a table top exercise in application of the response plans to a fictitious international oil spill.
“Our primary focus for the past several months has been updating our contingency plans, ensuring they are ready to be activated in the event an incident was to occur that posed a substantial risk to our marine environment, and ensuring that lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are incorporated into our plans,” said Capt. John Slaughter, chief of planning, readiness, and response for the 7th Coast Guard District.