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OR&R’s Emergency Response Division Briefs USCG on Historic Shipwrecks

MAY 17, 2021 — On May 11, Doug Helton from ERD joined the USCG's monthly MER/IMD conference call/webinar and briefed the 100+ participants on the progress and current status of NOAA's Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats (RULET) project.

Oil slick on water.
Image credit: NOAA.

RULET is an assessment of the most ecologically and economically significant potentially polluting historic shipwrecks in U.S. waters.  These wrecks are known or suspected to still contain residual fuel oil and oil cargo, and many of these vessels have been or are being considered for further assessment and oil removal. 

The initial risk assessment was completed in 2013 and several of the high priority wrecks have since been surveyed and remediated.  The USCG's Incident Management Divisions (IMDs) are operationally responsible for directing all Coast Guard incident response and mitigation operations, including Sector Search and Rescue (SAR), pollution, and all-hazards incident management response. Each of the 37 USCG sectors have an IMD.

Marine Environmental Response (MER) is a USCG headquarters office that provides guidance, policy, and tools to the IMDs for response planning, preparedness, and operations to prevent, enforce, investigate, respond to, and to mitigate the threat, frequency, and consequences of oil discharges and hazardous substance releases into the navigable waters of the United States.

Doug provided an update on recent RULET projects and efforts underway to capture lessons learned, document case histories and accomplishments, and share new information on these potentially polluting wrecks.

For further information, contact Doug.Helton@noaa.gov.

Last updated Tuesday, June 8, 2021 10:40am PDT