Back to top

Oil Spill Response Training Returns in Seattle

AUG. 1, 2022 — During the week of July 11, 2022, OR&R’s Emergency Response Division held the first in-person Science of Oil Spill class since 2019, training 41 students from five federal agencies, four state agencies, five international agencies, and four industrial companies at NOAA’s Western Regional Center in Seattle.

A group photo.
Participants and instructors of the Science of Oil Spills class in Seattle. Image credit: NOAA.

Students came from the U.S. Coast Guard, other parts of NOAA, the Canadian Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and state agencies in Washington, Maine, Idaho, and Minnesota. Industry participants came from Chevron, BP-Cherry Point, Shell-Canada, and Hess Corporation. 

OR&R instructors for the class included Catherine Berg and Ruth Yender (lead scientific support coordinators), Mark Dix, John Tarpley, Gary Shigenaka, Dylan Righi, Chris Barker, Amy MacFadyen, CDR Faith Knighton, Carl Childs, Alan Mearns, Dalina Thrift-Viveros, and Doug Helton, all from ERD. Troy Baker and Marla Steinhoff from OR&R’s Assessment and Restoration Division taught students about the effects and toxicity of oil, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), while Sarah Allan, also from ARD, presented on OR&R’s oil spill research. Nickie Scillo was the class organizer and assisted with facilitating. 

During this five-day class, students were taught a range of topics from chemistry, fate and transport of oil, to response protocols and NRDA. Participants were given a scenario exercise the first day of class and completed the scenario with a field trip to Olympic Beach in Edmonds, Washington during a spectacular minus 4 tide.

OR&R’s scientist emeriti Gary Shigenaka and Alan Mearns, PhD, and Susan Tarpley were able to join the class at the beach, with Mearns giving a talk at the Edmonds Marsh and Shigenaka taking photos and answering questions. We were grateful to have Susan Tarpley join us to assist with the biology and ecology component at the beach. Tarpley is a former Ranger at Olympic Beach and was a wealth of information for our students. 

The class was a great success with new knowledge gained and new partnerships forged. The training will help prepare many within the local response community for upcoming exercises and PREP drills, as well as incident responses. 

For further information, contact

Last updated Sunday, August 7, 2022 9:15pm PDT