News : Oil spill drill asks, "What if?"

Mar 29, 2010

Featured in Newburyport News

Imagine this: It's been a brutal winter, and in early March, New England is expecting a delivery of crude oil into Portland, Maine, to feed the Portland Pipeline with sufficient quantities of crude to keep up with demand.

As a snowstorm reaches its peak and white-out conditions persist, the Tetra, carrying 2.3 million gallons of Mayan crude oil passes through the Gulf of Maine toward Casco Bay and Portland Harbor.

With visibility at near zero, a fully loaded car carrier, the Axis Moonlight, appears out of the storm, striking the Tetra broadside on the port side. The impact at normal cruising speed embeds the Axis Moonlight in Tetra's hull, spilling its crude into a raging sea with gale-force winds.

This scenario is directly from the "Exercise Participant Pamphlet" being used in an emergency drill up and down the New England coast from Portland to Boston, the Spill of National Significance exercise taking place all this week. Though many state and federal agencies took part, Newburyport's Coast Guard station was not part of the drill. Read the full story here!