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Press Release | June 2, 2023

Coast Guard to conduct pollution response exercise in the Bering Strait

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a pollution response exercise in the Bering Strait June 7, 2023.

The exercise will test Coast Guard and pollution response industry air and surface capabilities to respond to a simulated tanker-based crude oil spill originating on the Russian side of the Bering Strait, which subsequently affects U.S. waters and interests.

Involved in the exercise are:

  • A Coast Guard HC-130J from Air Station Kodiak, and a 
  • commercial 737 aircraft from the Marine Spill Response Corporation modified for aerial spraying operations (freshwater only for this event).

Together these assets will practice coordinated pollution response equipment deployment, tactics, and communications under the direction of the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

This one-day full-scale exercise is part of an overall program designed to accomplish a variety of related objectives through six main elements conducted over a six-week period. The program elements are:

  1. Community-based Ecological Risk Assessment in Nome - April 24/25
  2. Community-based Waste Stream Management Workshop in Nome - April 24/25
  3. U.S. Joint Response Team (JRT) Notification/Activation - May 23
  4. Alaska Regional Response Team (ARRT) Incident-Specific Activation - May 23
  5. Bering Strait Full Scale Exercise - June 7
  6. Spill of National Significance (SONS) Briefing - May 24

Planning for this multi-faceted exercise involves representatives from federal, state, and local governments, pollution response industry, U.S. federally recognized tribes, and not-for-profit organizations invited to collaborate toward shared goals. 

“Oil spill exercises provide a low-stress, collaborative environment where members of the response community come together for a common goal to exchange knowledge, test equipment, and practice techniques,” said Mark Everett, incident management and preparedness advisor, Coast Guard 17th District. “At the end of this exercise, we will walk away having developed stronger partnerships and practical experience that will aid us if we ever need to respond to a real-world event.”