This weeks ship photos are from a joint exercise currently being conducted by the USCG and other environmental response agencies that is aimed at testing new techniques for recovering spilled oil and other hazardous materials from icy waters. While the USCG frequently trains for oil spill recovery, this will be the first time the service has conducted such an exercise in icy waters.
The exercise is being conducted by the USCG in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, oil spill response organizations and Enbridge Energy Partners, among several others, and is being held out of St. Ignace, Michigan, from Monday through Wednesday.
In total, four vessels will be involved in the project. The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a buoy tender with ice-breaking capabilities, will deploy and evaluate a new Coast Guard cold-weather skimming system while an additional three commercial tugboats will deploy commercial responders and equipment.
Rather than oil, the project will use small amounts of environmentally-friendly oil surrogates, peat moss and oranges.
The exercise hopes to evaluate the effectiveness of multiple oil recovery options for use in the unique conditions prevalent during Great Lakes winters as well as future responses in the Arctic.