Back to top

OR&R Supports U.S. Coast Guard in Oil Spill Exercise in Puerto Rico

MARCH 25, 2024 — OR&R’s Brad Benggio, the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) Seventh District in Miami, Florida, recently participated in a tabletop oil spill exercise in Ponce, Puerto Rico to support emergency response training.

Handbook for the PREP (Preparedness for Response Exercise Program) Functional Exercise held by Sector San Juan Area Contingency Plan in March 2024.
Handbook for the PREP Functional Exercise held by Sector San Juan Area Contingency Plan in March 2024.

The exercise scenario, which involves the release of 10,000 barrels of a heavy fuel oil into Guayanilla Bay, was developed in part by OR&R’s Emergency Response Division (ERD) in 2023, when the ERD team engaged with the USCG to plan the exercise and develop an array of exercise products to help provide the participants with response information based on the scenario.

Throughout the exercise, the SSC and NOAA’s scientific support team helped guide the exercise response with spill trajectories, resources at risk, oil fate and effects, and other information that the players used to determine the scope of the incident and the response priorities, and to track its progress.

The SSC was joined during the exercise by a representative from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, within OR&R, who assisted with coordination and developing environmental assessments.

The event brought together federal, commonwealth, and industry representatives who regularly coordinate and collaborate together through participation with the local Area Planning Committee and the Caribbean Regional Response Team. 

This year is a busy one of Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) exercises in the USCG Seventh District’s area of responsibility. Following this exercise, NOAA will support and participate in additional exercises in Jacksonville, Florida in April, Charleston, South Carolina in June, and Savannah, Georgia in August.

Last updated Friday, March 29, 2024 11:02am PDT