Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532


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01:36:18 PM Start
01:36:43 PM Uscg/state of Alaska Situation Report and Overview M/v Selendang Ayu Grounding
02:57:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
USCG Admiral Jim Olson
DEC:Kurt Fredriksson, Acting Commissioner
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                       February 14, 2005                                                                                        
                           1:36 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Carl Mosses                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
USCG/State of Alaska Situation Report and overview M/V Selendang                                                                
Ayu grounding                                                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record.                                                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
USCG Admiral Jim Olson                                                                                                          
USCG District 17                                                                                                                
P.O. Box 25517                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99802                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Gave joint overview of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                                  
Acting Commissioner Kurt Fredriksson                                                                                            
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
410 Willoughby                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1795                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Gave joint overview of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                                  
Rick Steiner                                                                                                                    
Shipping Safety Partnership                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on grounding of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                              
Russ Thorpe                                                                                                                     
Construction Resources                                                                                                          
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Reported difficulty associated with                                                                      
                    grounding of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                                              
Dani Havland                                                                                                                    
Chill Out Parts and Equipment Supply                                                                                            
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Reported difficulty associated with                                                                       
                    grounding of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                                              
Tom Lokosh, Lead Investigator                                                                                                   
Parker Associates                                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on grounding of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                               
Walter Parker                                                                                                                   
Parker Associates                                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on grounding of M/V Selendang Ayu                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
    ^USCG/State of Alaska Situation Report and Overview M/V                                                                   
                    Selendang Ayu Grounding                                                                                   
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  1:36:18  PM                                                             
Present  were Senators  Stedman,  Ellis, Wagoner  and Chair  Gary                                                               
Stevens. Representative Carl Moses was also in attendance.                                                                      
1:36:43 PM                                                                                                                    
ADMIRAL  JIM OLSON,  USCG, introduced  agency representatives  in                                                               
the  room  then   advised  he  would  give   a  short  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation after which he would respond to questions.                                                                         
1:37:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide 1:  The 738-foot M/V  Selendang Ayu sailed from  Seattle on                                                               
November  28,  2004  loaded  with  more  than  60,000  pounds  of                                                               
soybeans.  She was  bound for  China following  the great  circle                                                               
route. The  ship passed through  Unimak Pass into the  Bering Sea                                                               
on December 6.                                                                                                                  
Slide 2:  At 4:00 am on  December 7 the Coast  Guard was notified                                                               
that  the ship  had lost  engine  power and  was drifting  toward                                                               
Unalaska  Island.  The  tug  Sydney Foss  attempted  to  tow  the                                                               
freighter,  but  the tow  cable  broke  under severe  conditions.                                                               
Attempts were made to anchor the vessel.                                                                                        
Slide 3: The anchor wasn't holding  and by 5:15 pm December 8 the                                                               
USCG  began evacuation  of some  crewmembers. At  6:23 pm  a USCG                                                               
rescue helicopter  crashed with  ten persons  on board.  A second                                                               
helicopter rescued  four persons,  but six  persons were  lost at                                                               
By 7:14 pm December 8 the M/V Selendang Ayu broke in two.                                                                       
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS asked why the  vessel was going north  of the                                                               
ADMIRAL OLSON explained  that when sailing from any  point on the                                                               
west  coast  of  the  U.S.  to China  you  travel  close  to  the                                                               
Aleutians and most ships go through Unimak Pass.                                                                                
Slides 4-8:  The Coast  Guard asked the  vessel to  transfer fuel                                                               
and  close  all  valves.  Initial  estimates  of  fuel  on  board                                                               
included 443,000  gallons of  IFO 380  and 21,000  gallons diesel                                                               
1:48:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide 9-11:  The success of  the event was  due in large  part to                                                               
the Coast Guard,  the State of Alaska, and  party responsible for                                                               
the Selendang Ayu  working together to create  a unified response                                                               
under  the Incident  Command System.  A  unified command  ensures                                                               
that the key  stakeholders are properly represented  and that all                                                               
are working toward common goals and objectives.                                                                                 
Slide  12:  Lists  the  plan  and  permit  requirements  for  the                                                               
individual unified command. The  plans include an incident action                                                               
plan,  wildlife,  lightering,   waste  management,  site  safety,                                                               
decontamination,  salvage,  and  winter operations.  The  permits                                                               
required   include  archaeological,   decanting,  tideland   use,                                                               
wildlife  capture and  treatment, fish  habitat, waste  handling,                                                               
Native corporation land use.                                                                                                    
Slide  13: Artist's  rendition of  the vessel  showing the  seven                                                               
cargo holds, three  double-bottom fuel tanks and  aft wing tanks.                                                               
They recovered about  144,000 gallons of fuel and  diesel oil and                                                               
believe that nearly 300,000 gallons of IFO fuel oil was lost.                                                                   
1:52:37 PM                                                                                                                    
KURT    FREDRIKSSON,   acting    commissioner,   Department    of                                                               
Environmental Conservation (DEC), made  the point that weather is                                                               
very much a factor in this  type of incident. Weather was a cause                                                               
of  the  grounding  and  the real-time  action  taken  after  the                                                               
grounding  was very  weather dependent.  The safety  of personnel                                                               
was the number one priority.                                                                                                    
Slide  14: Assessing  the impacts  is done  by Shoreline  Cleanup                                                               
Assessment  (SCAT) teams.  They conduct  over-flights and  assess                                                               
wildlife impacts and affected commercial fisheries.                                                                             
Slide  15: Shows  the  shoreline  with oil  and  soybeans on  the                                                               
Slide  16: Indicates  wildlife  impacts.  The International  Bird                                                               
Rescue  Research Center  (IBRRC) opened  a treatment  center, but                                                               
recovery  was difficult.  29  birds were  recovered  and at  last                                                               
count over 1,000 had died.                                                                                                      
Slide  17: Addresses  the fisheries  impacted.  The Makushin  Bay                                                               
fishery was closed because of  the State of Alaska zero tolerance                                                               
policy regarding crab and fish  exposure to oil. The state worked                                                               
with  fishermen,  processors,  local  interest  groups,  and  the                                                               
community  to  determine how  to  manage  the fishery  to  ensure                                                               
product safety.                                                                                                                 
1:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide  18:  Shows the  Bering  Sea  district and  the  commercial                                                               
fisheries affected.                                                                                                             
Slide 19:  Indicates there  is still  much to  do in  addition to                                                               
figuring out  how to open  the fishery safely. December  23, 2004                                                               
the bow section  sank and 176,000 gallons of IFO  380 in number 1                                                               
tank became inaccessible.                                                                                                       
Slide 20: Indicates the shoreline-oiling map.                                                                                   
Slides 21-23:  Shows cleanup  and protection  efforts. Protective                                                               
boom  was placed  on  sensitive streams,  but  beach cleanup  was                                                               
hampered by poor weather.                                                                                                       
Slide 24: Shows  large vessel offshore oil  recovery efforts that                                                               
proved to be rather unproductive.  The "Current Buster" was taken                                                               
out of service but some skimmers are still working.                                                                             
Slide  25:   Lightering  efforts  with  the   use  of  heavy-lift                                                               
helicopters were  quite successful  and recovered between  25 and                                                               
30 percent of the oil onboard.                                                                                                  
2:00:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ADMIRAL OLSON  described lightering  procedures under  very tough                                                               
2:06:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FREDRIKSSON described winter shutdown in slide 26.                                                                          
2:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Slides  27-29:  Dispersants  weren't used,  but  were  available.                                                               
Water  quality monitoring  was very  successful.  Tow net  trawls                                                               
were  used to  identify where  the  oil was  concentrated and  to                                                               
advise the fishermen to transit elsewhere.                                                                                      
2:09:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide 30-31: Fishermen  were taught how to monitor  for oil using                                                               
pom-poms. Seafood inspections were  conducted and the fishery was                                                               
2:11:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide  32: The  fishermen and  state did  everything possible  to                                                               
ensure uncontaminated seafood.                                                                                                  
Slide 33:  Daily public meetings  kept locals, tribal  groups and                                                               
Native   corporations  informed.   The  web   site  was   updated                                                               
frequently to keep the public and the media informed.                                                                           
2:12:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide 34: Salvage operations were described.                                                                                    
Slide 35: Wreck assessments were conducted remotely.                                                                            
2:13:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide 36: Winter operations  plans include: surveillance flights,                                                               
water  quality monitoring,  oil tracking,  and HAZWOPER  training                                                               
for residents.                                                                                                                  
Slide 37: Local Area Map                                                                                                        
Slide 38:  Spring/Summer Operations  Plan includes  SCAT surveys,                                                               
cultural resource  protection, waste management,  fisheries water                                                               
quality sampling and termination endpoints.                                                                                     
2:15:18 PM                                                                                                                    
Slide  39: Major  accomplishments:  the  lightering is  complete,                                                               
gross  contamination  is  removed,  the Opilio  crab  fishery  is                                                               
complete and zero tolerance was achieved.                                                                                       
2:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
For  additional information  visit the  Unified Command  Website:                                                               
2:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  said he was pleased to hear  that the unified                                                               
command structure appears to have worked very well.                                                                             
MR. FREDRIKSSON complimented the unified command.                                                                               
ADMIRAL OLSON said  the website was very  successful and received                                                               
1  million hits  the first  week. He  also complemented  everyone                                                               
that was on scene.                                                                                                              
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted that Mr.  Ron Philemenoff, representing                                                               
the  Saint  Paul village  corporation,  TDX,  was listening  with                                                               
interest  because it  has major  landholdings in  and around  the                                                               
spill site.                                                                                                                     
2:25:30 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK   STEINER,  Shipping   Safety  Partnership   representative,                                                               
informed the  committee he is  also a professor  and conservation                                                               
specialist  with   the  University  of  Alaska   Marine  Advisory                                                               
Program.  He commended  the committee  for  holding the  overview                                                               
because of  the cultural, subsistence and  natural resources that                                                               
have been  impacted. Certainly there  are success stories  in the                                                               
response to this  disaster, but standing back and  looking at the                                                               
entire scope  of incident "the  glass was about 95  percent empty                                                               
and maybe 5 percent full," he said.                                                                                             
The  risk in  using this  maritime transportation  route is  well                                                               
documented and  has been pointed out  to the State of  Alaska and                                                               
the U.S.  Coast Guard for  decades. If anything was  learned from                                                               
the 1989  Exxon Valdez spill it  is that any response  is largely                                                               
ineffective. In this disaster six  human lives were lost, tens of                                                               
thousands of  birds and marine  mammals died, a U.S.  Coast Guard                                                               
helicopter was lost,  and the vessel and its cargo  are gone. The                                                               
financial loss  will likely  fall between  $100 and  $200 million                                                               
and it was a disaster that was waiting to happen.                                                                               
The Shipping Safety  Partnership that has been  formed among non-                                                               
governmental  organizations  is   focused  on  preventing  future                                                               
disasters.  The  goal  is  to improve  safety  of  this  maritime                                                               
transit  area and  they applaud  the Governor  for asking  that a                                                               
risk assessment be done. Also sorely  needed are a rescue tug and                                                               
a  tracking system  for the  4,000-6,000 vessels  transiting this                                                               
area every year, Mr. Steiner said.                                                                                              
2:31:11 PM                                                                                                                    
In  closing  he  asked  the  Legislature  to  make  an  emergency                                                               
appropriation for an interim protection  system for the Aleutians                                                               
for the time it takes to  conduct a risk assessment. He suggested                                                               
$5  million  be  given  to  DEC out  of  the  Oil  and  Hazardous                                                               
Substance  Release Prevention  and Response  Fund so  an adequate                                                               
open  ocean rescue  tug could  be on  station immediately  in the                                                               
Unimak Pass  area. "This is a  state responsibility as well  as a                                                               
Coast Guard responsibility."                                                                                                    
2:33:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS thanked  Mr.  Steiner  for his  letter  with                                                               
specific recommendations and asked  him to explain his suggestion                                                               
regarding routing further from shore  since vessels still need to                                                               
go through the Aleutian chain.                                                                                                  
MR.  STEINER acknowledged  there is  only so  much the  state and                                                               
Coast Guard  can ask of  vessels in  terms of route,  but through                                                               
voluntary  agreement  with  the  National  Maritime  Organization                                                               
areas to  be avoided (ATBA)  or particularly sensitive  sea areas                                                               
(PSSA) have begun to be  established. The farther vessels transit                                                               
from sensitive habitat, the better.  The voluntary agreements are                                                               
very encouraging.                                                                                                               
2:36:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER  asked where  the information  about loss  to sea                                                               
life came from.                                                                                                                 
MR. STEINER  replied bird  carcass recovery  of 1,600  comes from                                                               
the Fish  and Wildlife Service  and the Unified  Command website.                                                               
The Exxon  Valdez ratio of  recovered carcasses to the  number of                                                               
lost and uncounted birds was about  ten to one. Fish and Wildlife                                                               
is extrapolating  from the number  of dead to determine  what the                                                               
range of  total mortality  has been. Using  the ratio,  the acute                                                               
mortality to  date is 16,000  and that doesn't count  the chronic                                                               
mortality that will occur for years to come.                                                                                    
2:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
RUSS THORPE,  Construction Resources,  testified for  himself and                                                               
Dani  Havland  with Chill  Out  Parts  and Equipment  Supply,  to                                                               
report that  they have  been having  difficulty getting  paid for                                                               
services and supplies rendered.                                                                                                 
2:39:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FREDRIKSSON responded  the  payer would  be the  responsible                                                               
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  agreed that everyone should be  paid for work                                                               
done. He assured Mr. Thorpe  the Admiral said the Unified Command                                                               
would take  this matter up and  he encouraged him to  contact his                                                               
office if further attention was warranted.                                                                                      
2:45:20 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  LOKOSH  said  he  was   the  lead  investigator  for  Parker                                                               
Associates that  was contracted by  the Alaska Oceans  Program to                                                               
investigate  the  grounding  of  the Selendang  Ayu  and  provide                                                               
recommendations in  the future. He  faxed his testimony  to Chair                                                               
Gary Steven's office and a copy is in the committee file.                                                                       
2:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
WALTER  PARKER, Parker  Associates,  said shipping  in the  North                                                               
Pacific is  changing rapidly and will  require a lot of  work. He                                                               
cautioned   that  the   Republic  of   China  is   very  new   in                                                               
international maritime trade and might present a great                                                                          
2:56:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS noted there  was no other  further testimony.                                                               
He thanked  Mr. Fredriksson and  Admiral Olson  for participating                                                               
and  asked  both  to  contact  him  to  discuss  the  suggestions                                                               
regarding vessel tracking, a rescue tug, and interim protection.                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Gary Stevens adjourned the meeting at 2:57:06 PM.                                                                       

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