USCG Captain on Oil Spill Response: Knowing Your Enemy

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May 9, 2011

Story by Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers and Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Schofield via USCG Los Angeles

Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen; an oil spill is a war to save the environment.  In this war, the oil is our enemy.  And to defeat this enemy, we need to know what it is and what are its tendencies so we can figure out how best to defeat it.  We have to know our enemy.

This Patton-esque battle cry is the words of Coast Guard Capt. Roger Laferriere, one of the service’s more-seasoned oil spill fighters and Captain of the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Hueneme.

His more than 20 years of soiled-water fighting experience has lead him this unique perspective on combating spills and the people he’s protecting when doing so.

“It is absolutely an emotional event.  You have to put a face on it.  You can’t just look at it from a pure aspect of removing oil.  It has a face and people’s lives behind it that are impacted.  You can never fight it without that consideration,” said Laferriere.

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Photo: On March 8, Coast Guard and California response resposponded to an oil spill on Faria Beach near Ventura, CA. The oil leaked from a pipeline into a storm drain that led to the beach. U.S. Coast Guard photo

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