Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council

8195 Kenai Spur Hwy., Kenai, AK 99611
(907) 283-7222; 800-652-7222 (toll free); 907-283-6102 (fax)
Cook Inlet Navigator
May 2014
In This Issue
USCG briefs council on Kulluk response
IOSC gathers oil spill technology experts
Navigation risk assessment update
CIRCAC welcomes new ex officio
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Our Mission is to represent the citizens of Cook Inlet in promoting environmentally safe marine transportation and oil facility operations in Cook Inlet.
Board briefed on Kulluk response

Among the featured guests at our April Board of Directors and Annual Meeting was Captain Paul Mehler III. Captain Mehler has been in command of Guard Sector Anchorage since June 2012 and is responsible for executing Coast Guard missions throughout Western Alaska, among the Service's most challenging regions due to its size (it is the largest) and geographical diversity. Captain Mehler serves as the Captain of the Port, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Federal Maritime Security Coordinator, Officer in Charge of Marine Inspections, and is the region's Search and Rescue Coordinator.

Capt. Paul Mehler briefs the Board in April.

Captain Mehler gave a riveting account of the details of the grounding and response as they unfolded from December 2012 to January 2013, describing in detail the engine failures, fouled props, dropped anchors and other events that led to the grounding, as well as the heroic acts to rescue the crew members on board the vessel. Click here to download the presentation from our web page.

You can read the U.S. Coast Guard's official report of their investigation of the incident online

IOSC gathers world's experts in field of oil spill prevention and response technology
The International Oil Spill Conference represents one of the best opportunities for Cook Inlet RCAC board, committee and staff members to learn about the latest and most advanced oil spill response equipment and techniques. This year's IOSC in Savannah, Georgia, covered a broad range of topics, including the 25th Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: Reflections; Dispersants-Subsea Applications; Dispersants-Preparedness Issues; Spill Fate and Transport Modeling-General; Arctic Research and Development Joint Industry Project; Arctic Spill Response; Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Techniques; and a Film Festival, as well as a short course in Advanced Oil Spill Modeling & Data Sources.


The IOSC helps increase our understanding of how oil spill response works from the ground up. Discussion and presentation sessions by the world's top researchers and spill responders explain state of the art technology in educational sessions. Classes and exhibits encourage networking with peers, and present a different perspective on how Alaska's oil spill technology compares to other states and countries.  


The IOSC is also perhaps the best way to see a variety of equipment that might be used on an oil spill in Cook Inlet, including some new, and some older but modified technology from lessons learned on various spills. Meeting the people behind the new technology and response options is an added bonus. A number of panel presentations at this year's conference focused on recent spills, new regulations, public health impacts, the Arctic, international guidelines for spill response planning, cutting edge technology and modeling. Besides these main presentations, there were more than 50 "Poster Presentations" on spill response issues with many of the individuals who developed the papers available for questions. To learn more about the International Oil Spill Conference, click on the IOSC logo above.


Navigational risk assessment update

Steps are being taken to implement risk reduction options identified by the Cook Inlet Risk Assessment management team for immediate or sustained implementation, including  launching a harbor safety committee, updCIRA Logoating the coast pilot and AWOIS (Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System) databases, and conducting an ice monitoring demonstration project.  Cook Inlet RCAC is leading the coordination of the harbor safety committee, which includes conducting interviews with potentially interested stakeholders. These interviews are on track to be concluded soon.   


Cook Inlet RCAC welcomes new ex officio member

The Division of Homeland Security has appointed James Benzschawel as its ex officio to the Cook Inlet RCAC Board of Directors. James came to Alaska on Solstice of 2010 to serve as a Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross of Alaska. During his time with the Red Cross he managed the preparedness, response and recovery activities for over half of the State of Alaska and directed their largest relief operation in over 20 years following the 2013 Spring Floods that devastated the community of Galena. In May of 2014, James joined the State of Alaska's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's Planning Section team where he works as a community planner. Among other Division duties as Emergency Management Specialist, James is the Division's Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Project Manager. When not at the office, James enjoys Alaska's wilderness as a hiker, skier, kayaker, ice climber and back country traveler.


We are pleased to welcome James and look forward to working with him in the months ahead.



Lynda Giguere
Director of Public Outreach
Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Counci
(907) 398-6205
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