May 23, 2019 – The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian coast guard conducted an oil spill response drill in partnership with the Washington Department of Ecology and the B.C. Ministry of the Environment in the contiguous waters off British Columbia, Canada, and the United States in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Wednesday.
Oil spill response equipment was deployed in the vicinity of Port Angeles and Freshwater Bay. The drill used a harmless, non-toxic dye in the water to engage responders as they simulated on water recovery operations with vessels, boom and skimmers.
The purpose of the drill was to test the activation process for the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, Pacific Annex (CANUSPAC Annex) and to test moving response assets and personnel across the US/Canadian border. The CANUSPAC Annex is a proactive response plan designed in preparation for the possibility of incidents requiring international response.
“These types of joint exercises are a great way to test our preparedness to respond, build partnerships, test bilateral communications and improve our contingency plans,” said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Marshall, the Marine Environmental Response Branch Chief for the Coast Guard’s 13th District.
Pollution response crews with cleanup equipment from both nations were a part of the drill along with cooperating oil spill response organizations and federal and state agencies. The drill included aerial assets and vessels. Wildlife subject matter experts were on hand to monitor for marine species in the area.