seapro responder handbook

table of content

member companies
  1. chapter 1 - overview
  2. chapter 2 - safety
  3. chapter 3 - response team protocols & callout procedures
  4. chapter 4 - incident command system (ics)
  5. chapter 5 - response techniques
  6. chapter 6 - seapro boom
  7. chapter 7 - skimmers
  8. chapter 8 - pumps
  9. chapter 9 - storage devices
  10. chapter 10 - decontamination
  11. chapter 11 - wildlife
  12. appendix a - seapro equipment
  13. appendix b - site assessment matrix
  14. appendix c - acronyms and chemical abbreviations

chapter 1 -- overview

the purpose of this guidebook is to provide seapro’s oil spill response team members with information regarding safety, equipment, and various aspects of oil spill response. this book is not intended to replace common sense or experience, but rather supplement it with information that will help enhance safety and success in any response to an oil spill incident.

as you go through this book -- remember the number one priority is your safety. a spill cleanup is only successful if response personnel remain safe and healthy. always work safely, and remember to keep an eye on your co-workers.

the need for a rapid response

it is far easier to prevent an oil spill than it is to clean one up, but history has shown us that accidents happen, and we must prepare ourselves to respond to a spill. marine oil spills can have severe impacts on people, marine life, shoreline wildlife and the environment. once oil spills into the water, the effects of wind, weather, current and tide dictate how far and how quickly the spill will spread. the response must be proportionate to the size of the spill. to successfully respond, and clean up a marine oil spill, a rapid response must occur. cleaning up a marine oil spill can be compared to fighting a large fire. there exists the need for a chain of command, equipment, supply lines, communications, and enough personnel to accomplish a multitude of required tasks.

chapter 2 -- safety

safety and health is the primary responsibility of all individuals during spill response activities. anyone can stop any evolution at any time if he/she believes there is a safety concern. once stopped, the person in charge must resolve the safety concern(s). although our goal is to successfully clean up an oil spill, we will never place spill cleanup over the preservation of human health and safety.

all personnel at a spill must remember that everyone is a safety observer, and regardless of their job assignment, safety comes first.

basic safety and health guidelines

the site safety and health plan (sshp) contains information to help personnel work safely. personnel at oil spill clean up sites must familiarize themselves with the sshp, and sign it prior to starting response activities. basic health and safety guidelines include:

hand communication signals (non-verbal)

hand communication signals (non-verbal) are used when personnel are using ppe that make it difficult to communicate normally, i.e., respirators. commonly used signals are listed in the following table:

signal meaning
clutching throat
hands clutching throat
out of air
can't breath
hands on top of head
hands to top of head
need assistance
thumbs up
thumbs up
i'm all right
i understand
thumbs downthumbs down no

personal protective equipment (ppe)

level of protection -- "a"
used when
recommended personal
protective equipment
optional personal
protective equipment
the highest level of respiratory, skin and eye protection is needed pressure demand, full facepiece scba or pressure demand supplied air respirator with escape scba
fully encapsulating, chemical-resistant suit
inner and outer chemical-resistant gloves
chemical-resistant safety boots/shoes
two-way radio equipment
cooling unit
long cotton underwear
hard hat
disposable gloves and boot covers
level of protection -- "b"
used when
recommended personal
protective equipment
optional personal
protective equipment
the highest level of respiratory and eye protection is needed, but a lesser level of skin protection pressure demand, full facepiece scba or pressure demand supplied air respirator with escape scba
fully encapsulating, chemical-resistant suit
inner and outer chemical-resistant gloves
chemical-resistant safety boots/shoes
hard hat & two-way radio equipment
long cotton underwear
disposable boot covers
level of protection -- "c"
used when
recommended personal
protective equipment
optional personal
protective equipment
criteria for using air purifying respirators are met full-facepiece/half-facepiece, air-purifying, canister equipped respirator
chemical-resistant clothing
inner and outer chemical-resistant gloves
chemical-resistant safety boots/shoes
hard hat & two-way radio equipment
long cotton underwear
disposable boot covers
escape mask
level of protection -- "d"
used when
recommended personal
protective equipment
optional personal
protective equipment
no respiratory is required. it offers no protection against chemical hazards coveralls
safety boots/shoes
safety glasses or splash goggles
hard hat
escape mask
personal air monitor w/alarm

fire and explosion


the potential of fire or explosion may exist during any petroleum spill incident. this danger poses one of the greatest risks to response personnel because ppe will not protect us from fire. safety considerations should include:

following are guidelines for assessing the lel (lower explosive limit):¹

level action
less than 10% lel continue work
10% lel or greater leave area immediately

caution -- combustible gas detectors do no monitor for toxic gases. do not rely soley on the results of lel monitoring to determine if an area is safe. you must also check for the presence of other hazardous gases.

tools and equipment

worker with tools

tools and equipment that are used at a spill cleanup can present hazards to response personnel.

safety considerations include:

other things to consider:

slips, trips and falls

slips trips and falls

always proceed cautiously while working on the beach, a dock or on a vessel as oiled surfaces may cause you to slip, trip, or fall. the risk of slipping, tripping, falling and other injury can be minimized by a heightened level of “situational awareness." safety considerations include:

on water safety


boats are used extensively during on water spill cleanup activities. basic safety considerations include:

the vessel operator has responsibility for all persons aboard and for the safe navigation of the boat.

shoreside safety


shoreline cleanup operations can present some unique safety considerations for response personnel. these include:

helicopter/airplane safety


fixed and rotary wing aircraft may be used extensively during response activities. aircraft can present hazards to personnel working on the ground and to those flying as passengers. when flying in an aircraft -- you will be given a pre-flight safety briefing by the pilot. make sure that you know where all safety equipment is located.

basic safety considerations include:

crane safety

crane safety

cranes can be used in various phases of spill response. cranes can be operated on vessels or on the shore. basic safety considerations include:

boom crane signals

heat and cold stress

weather can create specific hazards for spill response workers. heat and cold pose serious challenges to the responder involved in cleanup activities. dehydration is a major contributor to cold and heat stress. drink plenty of fluids and dress for any unexpected changes in weather.

cold stress -- hypothermia

hypothermia is a life threatening condition that occurs when the body is unable to maintain its core temperature. temperatures of 30° - 50° can create a hypothermic situation for people who are not properly dressed.

cold related illnesses
cold related illness symptoms usual causes first aid procedures
frostnip skin turns red then changes to gray or white
skin is firmer than normal
exposure to cold slowly warm affected area
keep affected area warm
frostbite white, waxy skin color
blisters may form during thawing of skin
skin is cold and hard on top, may be flexible underneath
pain or numbness
exposure to cold stop work -- seek warm shelter
slowly warm affected area
do not break blisters
seek follow up medical care
hypothermia shivering
complaints of being cold
slow heartbeat
slurred speech
memory lapses
drowsiness, confusion
slow, irregular breathing
gradual loss of consciousness
exposure to cold
immersion in water will cause rapid hypothermia
call for immediate medical help
handle person very carefully
remove any wet clothing
cover with blankets or gently put person in sleeping bag
slowly warm person
do not leave person alone
be prepared to start cpr

heat stress -- hyperthermia


heat stress can occur at fairly low temperatures (60° -- 65° f), if workers are wearing chemical protective clothing (cpc). the material that our cpc is constructed of is designed to keep contaminants outside. this same material effectively seals us inside the chemical protective clothing, and makes it difficult for our body to self regulate its temperature.

heat related illnesses
heat related illness symptoms usual causes first aid procedures
heat cramps painful spasms of muscles, typically in the abdomen and legs electrolyte loss due to sweating intake of fluids containing electrolytes
diluting sports drinks with water is particularly effective
heat exhaustion weakness
pale/moist skin
heavy sweating
fluid loss (sweat) without replacement of electrolytes or fluids move person to cool area
remove ppe (if possible) to allow cooling
provide fluids containing electrolytes (if person is able to drink)
seek medical treatment
heat stroke hot, dry red skin
very high temperature >105° f
rapid respirations and pulse
inability of the body to regulate its temperature call for emergency medical care
remove clothing
move to cool place (if possible)
cool person by covering with wet sheets and fanning
provide care for shock
if conscious -- provide small amounts of water to drink

prevention of heat and cold related illnesses
prevention heat illness cold illness
training personnel need to be aware of heat related illnesses and how to prevent them
personnel need to understand symptoms and first aid for heat related illnesses
heat stress can cause problems at temperatures of 60° f -- 65° f for personnel wearing ppe
personnel need to be aware of cold related illnesses and how to prevent them
personnel need to understand symptoms and first aid for cold related illnesses
acclimatization acclimatization takes place over time for personnel working in hot environments
personnel arriving for work in a hot environment should begin with 50% of the normal workload and normal work period on the 1st day, and gradually build up to 100% workload by the 5th day
some acclimatization may occur from exposure and work in cold temperatures
fluid replacement personnel can lose approximately 1 liter of water per hour
fluid replacement should begin early, and personnel should take in 8 ounces of fluid every 15 -- 20 minutes
personnel can become dehydrated in cold environments
warm, sweet, caffeine free drinks provide good fluid replacement
work/rest work can be scheduled to take place during the cooler hours of the day or night
crews may be placed on a work rotation where they work for a period of time, and then rest
at temperatures < 20° f, heated warming shelters should be made available
personnel should take periodic breaks to warm up
diet salt tablets are not recommended for personnel working in hot environments maintain a well balanced intake of foods
alcohol/smoking avoid alcohol -- it lowers tolerance to heat and increases risk of heat related illness
smoking should be avoided since nicotine restricts the blood flow to the extremities
do not drink alcohol -- it interferes with the body’s internal thermometer
smoking should be avoided since nicotine reduces the blood flow to the extremities
clothing wear layers of loose fitting comfortable clothing under ppe wear appropriate clothing to repel cold and moisture
if clothing gets wet -- change into dry clothes

chapter 3 -- response team protocols & callout procedures

when the team will be called

seapro’s response team personnel may be activated whenever seapro responds to an oil spill. depending on the size, location, weather and other considerations, all or part of the response team may be activated. notification will be made through the seapro office to the response team members. upon notification, you will be given a reporting location. this may be at the airport or ferry terminal if travel is required, or it may be at a staging site.

additionally, the team may be activated for training. in order to maintain your skills and proficiency with oil spill recovery equipment, you must attend annual training.

finally, the team may be activated for response to drills. these may be announced or unannounced. drills are conducted to ensure operational readiness.


how the team will be activated:

when seapro is notified of a response that requires participation from the response pool, seapro will notify the team members by phone.

important phone numbers
alaska department of environmental conservation (adec)
spill reporting number (907)465-5430 or 800-478-9300
mgr. public service center &
oil spill response team
environmental specialist (907)465-5220
sosc, se ak response team (907)465-5357
uscg (united states coast guard)
rescue emergencies (800) 478-5555
cmdr. mso, fosc
capt. of port
district 17
general information
(907) 463-2000
sup. mst (907) 225-4495
marine safety detachment
(907) 225-4496
marine safety detachment
state, federal, and misc. numbers
alaska state troopers (800) 478-9300
chemtrec spill technical assistance (800) 424-9300
epa alaska operations office (907) 586-7619
national response center (nrc) (800) 424-8802
poison control center (800) 478-3193
us fish and wildlife
(907) 586-7240
noaa (907) 271-3593
sitka raptor center (907) 747-8662

if you are called out you will be suppled with a responder bag which consists of the following ppe:

in addition to the issued responder bag you should pack and bring along:

city/zone phone numbers

name phone number
port of haines -- harbormaster (907) 766-2448
dept. of fish & game (907) 766-2830
state troopers (907) 766-2552
police, fire & emergencies 911
fish & wildlife protection (907) 766-2533

name phone number
port of juneau -- harbormaster (907) 586-5255
or 586-5337
dept. of fish & game (907) 465-4250
state troopers (907) 269-5086
police, fire & emergencies 911
bartlett regional hospital (907) 796-8900

name phone number
port of ketchikan (907) 228-5632
dept. of fish & game (907) 225-5195
fish & wildlife protection (907) 225-5111
police, fire & emergencies 911
ketchikan general hospital (907) 225-5171

name phone number
port of petersburg -- harbormaster (907) 772-4688
dept. of fish & game (907) 772-3801
state troopers (907) 772-3100
fish & wildlife protection (907) 772-3983
petersburg medical center (907) 772-4291

name phone number
port of sitka -- harbormaster (907) 747-3439
dept. of fish & game (907) 747-6688
state troopers (907) 747-3254
fish & wildlife protection (907) 747-3254
sitka community hospital (907) 747-3241

name phone number
port of wrangell -- harbormaster (907) 874-3736
dept. of fish & game (907) 874-3822
police (907) 874-3304
fire & rescue 911
(907) 874-2000
fish & wildlife protection (907) 874-3215
wrangell general hospital (907) 874-3356

name phone number
port of yakutat -- harbormaster (907) 784-3323
dept. of fish & game (907) 784-3255
state troopers (907) 784-3220
police, fire & rescue (907) 784-3220
fish & wildlife protection (907) 784-3220
health clinic (907) 784-3275

chapter 4 -- incident command system (ics)

the incident command system, (ics) is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating with a common organizational structure and the responsibility for the management of assigned resources to effectively accomplish objectives pertaining to an oil spill.

the purpose of the incident command system (ics) is to provide a fully coordinated response for effective, efficient control and focus of personnel, facilities, equipment and communications during emergencies of all types. the ics approach is supported by the national inter-agency incident management system (nims). it is recognized that while a private company may be responsible for the incident, it must interface with a multitude of agencies and interested stakeholders. the ics is designed so the responsible party, government agencies, and other stakeholders can work together toward a common goal. the advantage of using ics is that the basic structure remains the same for all incidents; it simply expands or contracts to match the size, type and complexity of the required response. an incident command system (ics) model is shown below.

chapter 5 -- response techniques

response options

there are several methods currently in use throughout the industry to respond to oil spills and remove the oil from water. the appropriate response strategy will be decided at the unified command; however, conditions on scene can change rapidly and some adjustment to the strategy may be necessary:

response option description
monitor and wait not the preferred option, but sometimes weather or other on scene conditions are such that any response is unreasonable or unsafe
mechanical recovery oil is contained, collected and concentrated so it can be removed from the water
chemical dispersion used to break oil slicks into fine droplets that disperse into the water column
this type of response has a very limited “window of opportunity," and requires special equipment and government permits
in-situ burning oil is ignited and burned off the surface of the water
oil can be ignited with a high degree of efficiency when the oil is at least 2 mm thick, fresh and not emulsified
requires special boom to withstand the heat

response priorities

the tiered system

the 3 tiers are applied in various forms; however, reliance and expectation of each level of response needs careful consideration. the expectation of the tiered response system in simplest terms can be defined as:

tier volume consequences
tier 1 small spill
< 150 bbl
small, operational-type spills that typically occur at a company’s own facilities (e.g. jetties or terminals), and as a consequence of its own activities. the operator would typically provide its own resources to respond to the spill, i.e. “the spill may be handled by the spiller”.
tier 2 medium spill
> 150 bbl < 3,665 bbl
a medium-sized spill that typically occurs within public or multi-user facilities, and which typically is associated with shipping accidents in ports or harbours. personnel and equipment resources would be pooled from other companies and the industry, with local government agencies acting as coordinators.
tier 3 large spill
>3,665 bbl
a large spill with potentially catastrophic consequences, that typically results from spillages at sea from tankers and offshore platforms. substantial resources and support from local, national and international stockpiles would be mobilized.

fate & behavior of oil

oil undergoes physical and chemical changes when it enters sea water. some changes cause the oil to disperse (spread out) while others cause it to persist (stick together). the time and degree of change vary depending on:


when initially spilled, the oil spreads across the waters surface creating a slick. this initial spreading is caused by the weight of the oil pushing on itself. a large instantaneous spill will spread more rapidly than a slow continuous discharge.


after the slick has spread to a nearly uniform thickness it will break into “windrows." windrows are narrow bands of oil that orient themselves with the direction of the wind.

any further spreading or movement of the slick is determined by the speed and direction of the wind and the water current. as a general rule:

the slick will move under the influence of 3% of the wind speed combined with 100% of the water current speed

oil spill fate, behavior & response
oil spill fate


the rate and extent of evaporation are determined primarily by the volatility of the oil. the greater the proportion of the low boiling point components (“light ends”), the greater the rate of evaporation. rough seas, high winds, and warm temperatures also increase the rate of evaporation. spills of refined products, such as gasoline or kerosene may evaporate completely within a few hours.


waves and turbulence at the sea surface act on a slick to produce oil droplets with varying sizes. the smallest droplets will remain in suspension in the water column. this dispersed oil can enhance other processes such as biodegradation and sedimentation.


large droplets caused by turbulence float back to the surface and rejoin the slick. however, this mixing causes many oils to absorb water, and to form water-in-oil emulsions or “mousse.” emulsions can become very viscous and retard other processes that may dissipate the oil. the absorption of water often changes the color of the oil from black into brown, orange or yellow slicks. as the amount of water absorbed increases, the density of the emulsion approaches that of water, further complicating the recovery process.

volume estimating

thickness estimating

the average oil thickness is the most difficult parameter to estimate since a single oil slick can often consist of a range of thicknesses. when direct measurement of the oil’s thickness is not possible, it can be estimated by its appearance:

slick appearance thickness
sheen (silver-gray color) use 10‾6 inch as average film thickness
iridescent (rainbow-colored) use 10‾4 to 10‾5 as average thickness
blue-black if aged or windblown but still blue to black:
use 10‾2 to 10‾3 inch as average thickness
brown-orange/red emulsion if emulsified and taking on the common “chocolate mousse” appearance, use 10‾1 inch as average “oil” thickness.
while the emulsion may actually be two to three times thicker, it may have as much as 50%-70% water content

graphs and tables provided courtesy of alan a. allen - spiltec

skimmer assesment parameters

when mounting a mechanical response and deciding what skimmer to use, using a skimmer and estimating the amount of oil recovered, or evaluating the effectiveness of a particular response, the following skimmer assessment parameters should be followed. the critical component is the oil encounter rate. oil encounter rate is the volume of oil that will impact a skimmer within the containment system.

skimmer assessment parameter definition
oil encounter rate (enr) if one can estimate the width of the receiving area (swath (w)), the velocity (v) of the system through the water (or the speed of the oil being swept into it), and the average oil thickness (t) it is possible to approximate the oil encounter rate as:
recovery efficiency (re) the % of oil in total fluid volume recovered
throughput efficiency (te) the % oil recovered from volume encountered
oil recovery rate (orr) volume of oil recovered per unit time (e.g., bbl/day, bbl/hr or gpm)
total fluid recovery rate (tfrr) volume of oil and water recovered per unit time
water recovery rate (wrr) volume of water recovered per unit time
skimmer assessment parameters formula
enr (barrels/day) (1.28 x 103) (w) (v) (t)
enr (barrels/hour) (53.33) (w) (v) (t)
enr (gallons/minute) (37) (w) (v) (t)
where w = swath (feet)
v = velocity (feet/second)

t = average oil, thickness (inches)
orr enr x (te(%)/100)
orr tfrr x (re(%)/100)
tfrr enr x (te/re)

oil holding capacity for sorbents

sorbent materials may be helpful for picking up small volume spills, or spills with very thin oil layers. the use of sorbents is fairly labor intensive, and disposal can be a problem. also, some sorbent types (pads or “diapers”) can be difficult to deploy under moderately windy conditions. however, sorbents can be effective clean up tools in environmentally sensitive areas such as marshes or tidal flats. refer to the following chart when estimating the oil holding capacity for sorbents:


common sorbent packaging characteristics common sorbents

graphs and tables provided courtesy of alan a. allen - spiltec

oil spill dispersion process

oil dispersion

differing response strategies may be employed depending on where the spill occurs, where the slick is moving and the different types of equipment available. in all cases, the earlier the slick is contained and, the oil concentrated, the easier the recovery operations will be. history has shown that when the slick is allowed to spread out without containment, then the task of pooling the oil for recovery is time consuming, labor intensive and expensive. additionally, if the oil impacts the shoreline, environmental damage increases as well removal cost.

offshore recovery

offshore recovery is an operation where the oil is encountered, contained and recovered from the water, and away from land. this type of response requires vessels, fairly short lengths of boom, skimmers and storage devices specifically designed for floating when filled with oil/water, debris, etc.

"u" or "v" configuration

u-boom configuration

several hundred feet of boom is towed by two vessels in a u. a third vessel with a skimmer and storage bag positions itself in the boom's apex (where the oil concentration is greatest) and recovers the oil. all of the vessels work into the wind and current, trapping the oil as it moves in the opposite direction. this configuration requires very slow towing speeds and close coordination between several vessels. the advantages are that with long lengths of boom, the swath width can be several hundred feet wide and significant quantities of oil can be contained within the boom system.

"j" configuration


this configuration is similar to that of the u, except that only two vessels are required. the trailing vessel in the “j” deploys the skimmer and storage device, as well as tows one end of the boom. this configuration can be accomplished with only several hundred feet of boom, and is easier to achieve in rough sea and high wind conditions. the disadvantage of the j compared to the u is that generally the swath width is smaller, so less oil is encountered. again, slow towing speeds and close coordination between vessels is required.

cascade booming

cascade booming is a system where several vessels towing several lengths of boom in a "funnel" configuration concentrate the oil and release it into the next stage of the funnel. at the bottom of the "funnel" are two vessels in a u configuration and a third vessel with a skimmer and storage. the advantage to this configuration is that the oil becomes highly concentrated at the skimmer, and the swath width is quite wide. the disadvantages are that it requires numerous vessels, long lengths of boom and very close coordination.

nearshore recovery

nearshore recovery operations occur in the water very near the land, or at the water’s edge. these efforts can either try to contain the oil against the shoreline for recovery, or deflect the oil away (or along) the shoreline to keep it out of sensitive areas, population centers, water intakes or other places where the oil’s impact would be a particular detriment.

diversion booming

boom is deployed at an angle to the approaching slick. oil is diverted away from the sensitive area or to a less sensitive area for recovery. the size of the area to be protected will determine the amount of boom necessary for protection.

exclusion booming

boom is deployed across or around sensitive areas and anchored in place. used primarily in small areas where currents are less than 1 knot, and waves are less than 1.5 feet. if the area is too big, or the current too strong, diversion booming should be considered.

alongshore oil trap

this technique is similar to those above, except that instead of the oil being deflected away from the shoreline, it is trapped inside the boom, and against the shoreline. at these collection points, a skimmer and storage device are employed to recover and collect the oil.

diversion boom angle table

booming in current

the use of proper towing bridles and end connectors will minimize boom damage during operations. to avoid sharp stresses on towed boom, tow lines of sufficient length should be used. generally, the more boom being towed, the longer the tow line should be. tow lines of two hundred feet would be appropriate for 1,500 feet of boom, and should not be shorter than 50 feet for any length of boom. when feasible, an odd number of sections of boom should be used to avoid having a connector at the apex from which oil may leak. boom performance can be judged at the apex of the u or j by eye. oil lost under the boom will appear as globules or droplets rising from behind the boom. eddies behind the boom are also indicators that the boom is being towed too fast, or that the current washing past the boom is too strong. it is frequently better to deflect oil to relatively quiet waters for recovery, rather than to attempt containment. a single boom is seldom 100% effective; a secondary or tertiary boom layer may be necessary to ensure containment.

the following table will provide guidance when setting boom in current. the speed of the current will affect the boom's ability to redirect oil because of entrainment. by changing the boom angle, response personnel can collect the maximum amount of oil possible.

boom angle
<0.5 <1.0 <0.4 90°
0.8 1.3 .04 70°
0.86 1.4 0.43 60°
0.93 1.6 0.5 50°
1.12 1.9 0.6 40°
1.6 2.4 0.7 30°
2.1 3.5 1.1 20°

on-shore recovery

the type of shoreline dictates the recovery method. rocky beaches can be cleaned with shovels, buckets and scoops if the oil is thick enough. recovery should not be attempted on muddy, marshy or wetland areas, as the response effort may cause more environmental damage than the oil itself. sorbents can be used to mop up pools of thin oil, as well as cleaning rocks, trees, etc.

vessel operation

response personnel working on boats are subject to many risks. it is the responsibility of the boat operator to ensure that the vessel is being operated safely at all times. furthermore, the boat operator is in charge onboard that vessel, and as such, has the final word of the safe conduct of any activity aboard that boat. minimum safety requirements are:

transferring people from one vessel to another should be kept to an absolute minimum, and must have the concurrence of the person being transferred prior to the transfer.

the vessel operator has the final word on the overall safety of the operation in which that vessel is engaged. due regard should be given to:

seapro has guidelines for vessel operation in it's policies and procedures which establish operating parameters and limits based on a number of criteria. a copy of those procedures can be viewed by at the seapro website


ropes and knots

boating knot characteristics

rope used in boating is durable and expensive and is often handling heavy loads, e.g., when berthing, mooring, towing another vessel, preparing for a storm, or managing sails. the emphasis, therefore, is on safety, reliability, and convenience. in contrast to the fishing knots, value is also placed on being able to use the rope repeatedly and untie each knot without difficulty.

bitts & bitter end

standing end, tail, and bitter end

in many knots there is standing end - which takes the strain, and a tail - the loose end in your hand. on large ships a shore line is initially tightened with a winch. the tail is then properly called a bitter end as it is transferred to the bitts. to do this, a second rope is tied to the shore line with a rat-tailed stopper or a rolling hitch to take the strain temporarily.

large ship mooring

mooring lines and names

mooring lines on large boats are nearly always made of a high-modulus polyethylene (hmpe) such as vectran® or dyneema®. these ropes float and their minimal elasticity reduces risk of injury due to "snap-back" in the event of a breakage. each line serves a specific purpose. on large vessels two lines often run in parallel ("doubled up") for safety. the following diagram shows a typical arrangement:

  1. bow line
  2. forward bow spring
  3. forward breast line
  4. after bow spring
  5. forward quarter spring
  6. quarter breast line
  7. after quarter spring
  8. stern line

common knots

anchor hitchclick the pictures to see a demonstration of how to tie the knot

anchor hitch (fisherman's hitch)

the anchor hitch, or bend, is also known as the fisherman's hitch, or bend. it is an excellent knot to use for attaching an anchor line to an anchor. logically, as a knot to attach rope to an object, it should always be called a hitch. however, the name bend derives from a time when it covered "tied to" and was not restricted to joining two ropes.



the bowline makes a reasonably secure loop in the end of a piece of rope. it has many uses, e.g., to fasten a mooring line to a ring or a post. under load, it does not slip or bind. with no load it can be untied easily. two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes. its principal shortcoming is that it cannot be tied, or untied, when there is a load on the standing end. it should therefore be avoided when, for example, a mooring line may have to be released under load.

running bowline

running bowline

the running bowline is a valuable way of tying a type of noose which will not bind and can be slid undone easily. in boating it is recommended for use when retrieving lumber or rigging which has fallen overboard and in climbing for retrieving objects in places such as crevasses. at home it is useful to hang a child's swing. the first challenge is to find a suitable branch and the second is to successfully throw the rope over it.

cleat hitch

cleat hitch for a dock line

the cleat hitch secures a rope to a cleat. it is deceptively simple and an unwary skipper who invites visitors to cleat a mooring line may be astonished and dismayed by the unsatisfactory results. see also using a cleat hitch for securing a halyard.

clove hitch

clove hitch tied with end rope

the clove hitch does have two giant faults: it slips and, paradoxically, can also bind. it should be deeply distrusted when used by itself. to make it more secure loop the standing end back around the line with a half knot.

rolling hitch

rolling hitch and midshipman's hitch

the rolling hitch attaches a rope (usually smaller) to another (usually larger) when the line of pull is almost parallel.

sheet bend

sheet bend

the sheet bend is recommended for joining two ropes of unequal size. the thicker rope must be used for the simple bight as shown. it works equally well if the ropes are of the same size.

square knot

square knot (reef knot)

it is intended to be a binding knot and, tied in the right material against a curved surface, the first half knot may bind – but it cannot be trusted. that is why surgeons use an extra turn in the first half knot – to achieve the binding required while they prepare the second half knot.

zeppelin bend

zeppelin bend

the zeppelin bend is one of the bends employing interlocking overhand knots. it is a reliable bend that can be untied even after being heavily loaded but not, however, while still under load. it is an excellent alternative to the more widely used double fisherman's because it eliminates the risk of jamming.


the need for good communications during spill response is essential. poor communications often result in confusion, inefficient response and wasted time and effort.

if you are unsure of what you are supposed to do, or how to do it, ask your supervisor.

generally, response radio communications will be conducted on channels 08, 63 or 72 vhf-fm. specific channels (frequencies) will be assigned for each particular team or task force.

good radio communications practices

chapter 6 - boom

seapro boom

seapro has two types of boom (inflatable and rolled foam), and two different kinds of boom (open water and protected water). the first type of boom to be discussed is the inflatable boom. the advantage to inflatable boom is that it is compact, easy to store and transportable. the disadvantage is that it is useless without the inflation system.

protected water (harbor) inflatable boom

seapro has a variety of pressure inflatable protected water (harbor) boom. the advantages and disadvantages of this boom type are shown below.

type 1 type 2 type 3
boom type advantages disadvantages
1 a single large air cylinder decreases inflation time
can be reeled
puncture causes total loss of freeboard in section of boom
heavy to deploy, recovery requires winch
2 divided air cylinders result in only partial loss of freeboard if the boom is punctured
can be deployed manually
can be reeled
slow to deploy due to each half cylinder having to be inflated separately
3 a reel deployment and recovery system makes this boom easy to deploy and recover
some versions have an air manifold on top of floation chamber and check valves in segments so continuous air compression is not required.
no bottom tension member
requires powered reels to recover boom
needs continuous power for air compressor and water pump while deployed
puncture causes total loss of boom

boom holding capacity

graphs and tables provided courtesy of alan a. allen - spiltec

inflatable boom

this boom has a continuous diameter buoyancy chamber for each boom section. boom sections vary in length up to 100 feet each. the inflation ports are located at both ends of the boom section. however, there is a check valve located at each inflation port. before the boom will inflate, one needs to press down on the check valve and give it one quarter of a turn to the counter -clockwise to lock the check valve in the open position. when that length of boom is inflated, the check valve needs to be closed (one quarter turn clockwise) before the cap is replaced on the inflation port.

caution -- extreme care must be taken when using this boom to ensure that the inflation chamber is not punctured.

the water pressure pushing on the bottom of the inflation chamber will force the air through any hole in the inflation chamber. if this happens the entire length of the boom will sink.

boom blower operation

caution -- do not run the blower on straight gasoline

inflating the boom

prior to inflating the seapro boom, check the area, and remove any sharp objects or hard edges that may puncture the boom buoyancy chamber. when the area is clear, roll out each length and connect the end plates of the different lengths together. the boom should be laid out at or near the deployment site in order to minimize the amount of dragging over the ground the boom will endure before it enters the water.

deflating the boom

storing the boom blower

open water (ocean) boom

seapro’s other type of inflatable boom is the inflatable open water (ocean) boom. this boom is stored on a reel. the boom reel is hydraulically powered. unlike the protected water boom discussed above, the buoyancy chambers in the open water boom are eight feet long, and the boom sections are typically 100 feet long. both the buoyancy chambers, and the boom sections are jumpered together, with a check valve between chambers, so the entire boom length can be inflated at once. also, if one of the buoyancy chambers is punctured, only that buoyancy chamber will deflate, rather than the entire length of boom.

see the instructions above (protected water boom) for how to inflate, deflate and return boom to storage.

deploying the open water inflatable boom

deploying the inflatable boom is much like setting a gill net or longline. the evolution is fairly simple; however, care should be taken not to put too much strain on the boom, or it will tear. deck personnel, especially those positioned between the boom and the rail/bulwark of the vessel need to plan an escape route in the event the boom takes a sudden shear while deploying off the drum. generally, straight down to the deck, and letting the boom go overhead is the most expeditious route.

caution -- sharp objects can puncture the boom. also, the boom becomes very slippery when wet with water or oil. as such, do not walk on, drive vehicles over, have sharp objects near, etc. the boom. ensure that the separator tank is securely griped to the deck. lashing chain and load binders are provided to ensure that the tank does not move or over-turn, especially if heavy seas are anticipated.

note -- the deploying of the boom from here on needs to be coordinated between the two vessels. the towing vessel should not pull on the boom faster than it is being deployed, and should only pull in the opposite direction from that which the boom is being deployed. given wind and sea conditions, this is very difficult, and patience needs to be exercised by all involved. the boom may tear if it is pulled by the towing vessel faster than it is being deployed off the reel.. also, the inflation chamber at the waterline of the deploying vessel should be the one being inflated. if too much boom is let out before being inflated, the boom may twist. if twisting occurs, the operation must be stopped, sufficient boom recovered in order to remove the twist, and then the boom redeployed. a twisted boom is useless for retaining oil. the boom must be inflated as it is being deployed; uninflated boom will sink and probably twist. also, the entire process is slowed considerably if the blower has to inflate against the water pressure pushing on the empty floatation chamber.

note -- in this deployed j configuration, the boom should not be towed faster than 2 knots, nor faster than 1 knot when collecting oil. also, should the hydraulic system fail, the boom can be manually deployed and retrieved by putting the bypass switch in the “manual by pass” position and continue with the above process.

recovering the open water inflatable boom

boom recovery is nearly the opposite of deploying it. however, after being used for oil spill response, the boom will be coated with oil. personnel handling the boom must be outfitted with the proper personnel protective clothing (ppe).

rolled foam boom

seapro has three different types of rolled foam floatation booms. these booms are designed primarily for deployment in protected waters as either containment boom or deflection/exclusion booms for shoreline protection. each of these booms have an 8” x 74” closed polypropylene cell “log” for floatation, and a 12” skirt with ballast chain to limit entrainment. the boom lengths are a standard 100 feet/section these booms are mutually compatible due to their astm standard slide connectors, and have anchoring points as well.

mooring the boom with seapro boom anchoring system

anchors are used to moor the seapro boom as follows:

boom anchoring diagram

repairing the boom

there are a number of ways to repair damaged boom, depending on the type and extent of the damage including:

hot air welding is impractical in the field, and as such, is beyond the scope of this text. in all instances of repair work, care must be taken to eliminate personnel hazards. eye protection is especially important when using hand tools and solvents.

adhesive welding

the area to be repaired must first be cleaned and thoroughly dried prior to applying adhesive. (see decontamination acetone, if applied sparingly, and the area is well ventilated, is a good cleaning agent. soap and water may be used, however, the cleaned fabric must be thoroughly dried and devoid of any residue.

sewing method

because some seapro boom does not have a top tension member, whenever the boom is ripped or cut, it loses some of its strength. in areas where strength is desired, such as near the end connectors, it is best to reinforce any repair by stitching the fabric edges down.

a two inch overlap of repair fabric should be used around any large cut or tear. if the tear is small, a herringbone stitch (see picture)can be used to close the tear.

herringbone stitch

reparing a small tear

repairing a large tear

if the torn area being repaired is accessible from both sides, a second step may be utilized to finish repairing a large tear:

returning the boom to storage

prior to restoring any seapro boom, it must first be cleaned. refer to (decontamination) for boom cleaning instructions.

rolled foam boom can be stored in two different ways. all boom is stored in the 20 foot seapro response modules. if the boom is to be replaced into these containers, they can be loaded in separate 100 foot bundles, or as one continuous length of boom.

continuous storage

this method allows for rapid boom deployment, with few attending personnel. it is important when loading boom in this fashion to insure that the tension/ ballast member is not twisted around the floats. each row as it is stacked will have the ballast chain on the same side of the floats.

chapter 7 - skimmers

oil skimmers are mechanical devices that remove oil from the water’s surface. there are many different types of skimmers, but only the types available from seapro are discussed in this chapter. the skimmers available to seapro can be grouped into the following categories:

skimmer operations -- general considerations

there are some general considerations when using a skimming device. these include:

oleophilic skimmers

oleo = oil
philic = loving

oleophilic (oil loving) skimmers are devices that remove oil from the waters surface by moving an oil attracting medium through the oil layer, where free floating oil attaches to the surface. inside the skimmer, scrapers remove the oil, which is pumped to storage containers for collection. seapro has three different types of oleophilic skimmers:

crucial disc c-13/24

for crucial disc c-13/24 specifications, click here

skimmer set up
operation of skimming system

the disc skimmer is designed to skim floating oil(s). under normal conditions the operator can observe the disc rotating speed and monitor the percentage of oil to water being collected. since we don't want to pick up the water, the disc should be rotated at as slow a speed as possible. the speed will take a little time to get just right. the slower the disc turn the more time the water has to shed off and flow back into the pooled area. the disc speed will need to set by observing the collected oil/water discharging from the pump.

daily inspection of the floating disc skimmer is recommended for the initial skimming period.

the skimmer should be checked for premature scraper wear, hydraulic oil leaks, and solids build up in the oil collection trough. the hydraulic hose ends need to be inspected also for corrosion as they are a plated steel.

the hydraulic power pack should be inspected at the same time as the disc skimmer. here you are looking for hydraulic oil leaks, low hydraulic oil level, above normal pressure reading, fasteners that may have become loose, and trash or debris around the motor.

keeping direct sunlight off of the hydraulic power pack will extend the life of the components as well as the hydraulic lines.

do not do any hydraulic work to any part of the system with the hydraulic power unit running.

be sure to have the unit locked out before any work is to be performed.

do not use "teflon tape" on hydraulic lines on any part of the system, the use of a liquid high pressure sealant is strongly recommended. one strand of teflon tape allowed to enter the hydraulic system can cause catastrophic failure to the hydraulic pump.

scraper blades are very sharp! use extreme caution when servicing this part of the skimmer!!

cleaning the skimming system

prior to shutting down the system, lift the unit out of the oil and run it for a few minutes. this will remove as much of the oil from the discs as possible. if the discs is coated with heavy oil then that oil can be cut with lighter oil. it should be noted that a disc, once used, will never be completely oil-free. crucial, inc. does not recommend cleaning the disc with detergents, as this will severely limit the discs ability to attract oil. used discs should be considered a flammable material, and should be stored accordingly.

for decon, remove the scraper finger assembly and disc bank. the finger assembly has two cotter pins that pull free then the fingers lift out. the disc bank require the removal of the two bolts that hold the shaft bearing and hydraulic motor then the disc can be lifted out. the skimmer now can be wiped down with oil sorbent pads and cleaned with any commercially available detergent. steam cleaning will not harm the equipment. the coated disc should be pressure washed with cold or hot water. after reassembly, grease the pillow block bearing, the rigid motor to disc shaft coupling including the screws, with a light coat of grease or spray oil (wd-40) to the motor, and hydraulic connectors.


aquaguard rbs 10/2

for aquaguard rbs 10/2 specifications, click here

advantages disadvantages
good for weathered, emulsified or residual oil low pick up rate
relatively simple mechanical operation requires relative velocity for oil recovery

the rbs-10 skimmer head is of modular construction, and two heads are bolted together back to back. each head contains one oleophilic brush or one oleophilic drum. the brush/drum is mounted in an aluminum frame and each is powered by its own hydraulic motor. the hydraulic motor turns a shaft which in turn rotates the brush/drum through the oil layer. the brush/drum is easily interchanged by retracting the securing clamp on the opposite side of the skimmer head from the drive motor. the hydraulic motor is equipped with quick connect hydraulic fittings for easy assembly.

caution -- when cleaning oleophilic devices never use detergents of any kind on the skimmer heads.

power unit -- aquaguard rbs 10

the power unit assembly is powered by a pull start yanmar 4.0 hp air cooled diesel engine.

pressure in the hydraulic circuits is supplied by a hydraulic pump coupled to the engine crankshaft. hydraulic oil is drawn through a suction strainer in the bottom of the hydraulic reservoir. from there, the oil flows to the brush/drum motors. the hydraulic oil passes through a return filter on its journey back to the tank. the filler port for the tank is equipped with a strainer to reduce the possibility of contaminating the oil. the output fittings are equipped with quick disconnect fittings and dust caps.

transfer pump assembly -- aquagard rbs 10

the transfer pump is a 2” diaphragm pump powered by a pull start yanmar 4.0 hp air cooled diesel engine. the 2” discharge hose is connected via a camlock fitting near the bottom of the sump frame (on the under side of the skimmer heads). the camlocks are supplied such that the hook up of the pump cannot be made incorrectly. the discharge side of the transfer pump is equipped with a 3” fitting in order to make the pump compatible with the storage device fill hose.

vertical suction lifts greater than 25 ft. should not be attempted. for best performance, place the pump as close to the water as possible. on high lifts, remove the cap on the suction chamber and fill the pump with water. this will seal the valves and speed pump priming. ensure that the cap is securely replaced and that all hose fittings have a gasket to prevent air from leaking into the suction line. lifts over 15 ft. should not be attempted without a foot valve in the suction line.

preparing the skimmer for use -- aquarguard rbs 10
pre-start up checklist -- aquaguard rbs 10 -- skimmer head
power unit and transfer pump engines -- aquaguard rbs 10

caution -- never run the engine without the air filter element in place.

equipment operations -- aquaguard rbs 10

diesel engine

caution -- do not allow the handle grip to snap back against the engine. return it gently to avoid damage to the starter.

caution -- never use any cold starting aids such as ether, gasoline, starting fluid or other volatile liquid or gas.

caution -- keep the rubber plug plugged except when adding oil. if the plug is not in place, rain dirt and other contaminants may enter the engine and destroy it.

equipment recovery and shut down -- aquaguard rbs 10

caution -- if the engine continues to operate even after the speed lever is placed at the “stop” position, stop the engine by closing the fuel cock (“s” position).

caution -- when stopping the engine, reduce the load slowly. do not stop the engine suddenly, it may cause the temperature to rise abnormally. also, do not stop the engine with the decompression lever.

aquaguard system troubleshooting guide
symptom solution
brush not picking up oil
debris collected around skimmer head move head, or rake debris clear
highly emulsified oil reduce the brush speed and maintain an even flow toward the skimmer head with no clear water patches
brush not being fully scraped
scraper not installed correctly re-install the scraper
scraper broken or damaged replace scraper, check for damaged brush
debris lodged between brush or drum and scraper clear the debris using a thin blade between the scraper and the brush
low or no flow in discharge hose
pump running too slowly increase the discharge pump speed
hoses blocked or kinked inspect the hoses and remove all debris and/or kinks
too much head created by suction hose lower the hose to a level closer to that of the skimmer head
pump intake pipe blocked remove the hose from the skimmer head and check for debris blockage
pump not running check for adequate fuel in tank
ensure fuel cock is in the “open (o) position
is diesel fuel reaching the fuel injection nozzle?
set speed control lever to the “start” position
ensure fuel injection nozzle is working properly
ensure recoil starter is pulled sufficiently quickly and firmly
ensure spark arrestor is not clogged with carbon or soot
power unit not running see “pump not running” above
ensure hydraulic bypass valve is in the off (open) position
hydraulic motors stopping
mechanical seizure of the bearings or drive check the bearings and drive. lubricate as required
damaged or broken brush attempt to clean the brush, or replace it
brush jammed with debris clear all debris from brush/scraper
insufficient circuit pressure check the hydraulic oil level
check hydraulic filters for clogging
check engine speed

action petroleum multi 24

for aquaguard rbs 10/2 specifications, click here

setup procedures

note -- the hydraulic hoses and the quick disconnects are designed so they cannot be connected incorrectly or in the wrong place. if it connects, it is correct.

starting and operating procedures

note -- the fuel valve should be in the off (horizontal) position when the unit is not in use.

note -- when turning the skimmer on and off, it will take a minute or two to get the speed set properly. if the drum is set to a speed that is too fast, it will need to be reset.

note -- when finished with the spill cleanup, over speed the drum to pick up water which will flush out the pump and lines.

to use the pump as a transfer pump

crucial rope mop

for crucial rope mop specifications, click here

the model c-13e mop wringer is designed as a rugged, compact, stainless steel industrial unit for tanks, sumps or any application requiring explosion -proof electric power. clamps are provided for mounting the unit on 55 gallon drum or other suitable oil collection pan. unit is provided for extension arms which allow for vertical or horizontal recovery (with the addition of a floating pulley or roller). the mop is wrung once on each pass through the unit by two 3" diameter squeeze rollers, which are capable of pulling up to 100 feet of 4" mop. recovery rates can reach 200 gallons per hours.

oleophilic mops are manufactured using high quality, ultraviolet resistant fibers which attract oil and reject water (hydrophobic).

when attached to the central core (forming a continuous length). the fibers yield a reuseable, extremely efficient, oil-sorbing retrieval mop.

two mop styles are available:


mop should be fed through wringer unit and floating pulleys before splicing free ends together. splicing is accomplished using square knots on each of the core strands (three strands in hi-poly rope, two strand in woven belts).

when demobilizing system, any cutting of mop should be done at the splice.


to form the mop train loop, feed the mop train through the yoke of the tail pulley(s) and splice the free ends together as shown below. take both ends of the rope mop and unbraid the three primary strands for about 8 to 10 inches at each end. next, remove the mop fibers from the un-braided strands. tie each loose strand at the end of the rope mop with half hitches to prevent unraveling.

tie each primary strand at the other end of the rope mop in a square knot, such that the fibers come together, eliminating any gap. with each square knot, take one secondary strand from each end and tie an additional square knot to give added strength. the unbraided ends should be left uncut to mark the location of the splice. any cutting of the rope should be done at the splice.


soaking or rotating mop through petroleum based solvents, then squeezing with mop wringer will dissolve most oily build-ups. high pressure or steam cleaning of mop will "fluff" fibers and remove grit imbedded near core.

the rope mop may be satisfactorily cleaned with any petroleum-based solvent. perhaps the easiest way to clean the rope mop is to operate it through the squeegee rollers and a container of the solvent simultaneously.

detergents reduce the capacity of a rope mop to reclaim oil, and should therefore be used sparingly. rope mop exposed to detergents should be washed thoroughly with water under pressure.

note -- use of detergents is not recommended, as coating of fibers with detergent will lessen its oil attracting capability.

caution -- soiled mops may contain flammable or harmful hydrocarbons. care should be taken in the handling and storage of such mops.


rope mops can be stored indefinitely in a drum or storage bag. temperatures above 210° f or below -40° f should be avoided.

caution -- dirty mops, i.e., mops with flammable hydrocarbons on them, are a fire hazard and should be stored with the same care as the flammable hydrocarbons.


to adjust chain:

threading instructions

in order to thread mop through wringer unit, the mop is passed over the top of the front (upper) guide roller and the upper squeeze roller, between the two (2) squeeze rollers and out of the mop wringer over the lower guide roller (but below tile front guide roller), to do this push the mop leader between the squeeze rollers as far as possible and, slowly rotate the squeeze rollers by hand so that the mop is trapped. remove hands and start the mop wringer to run enough mop so that the ends can be spliced (either with or without floating pulley).

rope mop threading diagram

squeeze rollers are set at the factory for proper grip tension on the mop. should the tension have to be adjusted, squeeze roller bearing-mount holes are slotted for customer alignment. however please take care to allow for proper aligning of roller shafts when attempting to adjust squeeze roller tension.

the wringer unit is to be installed onto a suitable container or barrel (into which the oil will be squeezed), and care should be taken to secure the unit to avoid movement in case of increased mop tension.

proper set-up should allow for very little slack in the mop. at some times it may be necessary to relocate either the mop wringer or the floating pulley(s) in order to maintain the proper tension for optimum oil recovery.

remember that when operating the system, the longer the mop is out of the water the less water will be picked up, since water caught in the fibers will have more time to fall out before entering the squeeze rollers.

komara 12k

for komara 12k specifications, click here

advantages disadvantages
can operate in shallow water depths (1 ft) limited to sea states up to about 2 ft
few moving parts and good reliability fibrous floating debris can wrap around disc drive axles and stop skimming rotation
high pick up rates for weight and size will not recover solidified or highly weathered oil
oil/water ratio is high heavy oil causes discharge pump flow problems in cold weather

the vikoma komara 12 k skimmer will recover any oil that will flow. the rate of recovery is governed by the disc speed, viscosity, and degree of emulsification. there are four banks of eight oleophilic discs which rotationally collect oil from the surface of the water. each bank is rotated by one of two hydraulic motors connected in series and driven from the power pack via flexible hoses.

power unit -- vikoma komara 12k

power to rotate the skimmer discs and recover the oil is obtained by the komara ad1 power pack. this comprises a one cylinder electric started, air cooled, lister diesel engine. unlike the aquaguard system described above, the ad1 power pack drives both the hydraulic flow and oil recovery pumps in one self-contained unit.

pressure in the hydraulic circuits is supplied by a hydraulic pump coupled to the engine crankshaft by a belt and flywheel. hydraulic oil is drawn through a suction strainer in the bottom of the hydraulic tank. from there, the oil flows to the disk drive motors, a pressure relief valve and a pressure gauge. the hydraulic oil passes through a return filter on its journey back to the tank. the filler port for the tank is equipped with a strainer to reduce the possibility of contaminating the oil. the output fittings are equipped with quick disconnect fittings and dust caps.

the transfer pump is a 2” diaphragm spate pump directly coupled to the diesel engine. the 2” discharge hose from the skimmer is connected via a camlock fitting near the bottom of the recovered oil sump and next to the skimmer’s hydraulic fittings. the other end of the hose is connected to the transfer pump suction (the lower of the two pump openings) via a hand tightened hose clamp. the discharge side of the transfer pump is equipped with a 3” fitting in order to make the pump compatible with the storage device fill hose.

preparing the skimmer for use -- vikoma komara 12k
pre-start up checklist -- vikoma komara 12k -- skimmer head
power unit/transfer pump engine -- vikoma komara 12k
starting procedures -- vikoma komara 12k

cold start

warm start

manual start

skimmer operations -- vikoma 12k
system shutdown -- vikoma 12k

lori brush

for lori brush skimmer specifications, click here

instructions for lori oil recovery system

the information below is a general guide for the deployment, operation, and maintenance of the lori oil recovery system. the information must be adjusted according to the vessel operational requirements and organizational safety procedures. these instructions should be refined to meet the specific operational needs, the operating environment and type of skimming application (two or three brush system).

the lori oil recovery systems (lors), based on the lori stiff brush conveyor technology, offers the highest possible performance and safety for offshore oil spill recovery operations. the lors operates effectively at vessel speeds of up to 3 knots, which results in a high oil encounter rate for advancing type skimmers.

the lori recovery channel design concentrates surface water and oil into the brush conveyor for recovery while water pressure is relieved through exit channels in the sides of the trough. this increases the system's overall efficiency by avoiding the formation of a head wave, which could keep oil from contacting the brushes.

the lors brush conveyor automatically separates and recovers oils, emulsions and oily debris from sea water and delivers it to deck level. the lori system has a very high recovery efficiency, which takes full advantage of on-board storage volume and eliminates the need for decanting water. recovered oil normally contains less than five percent (5%) free water. the lori system is unaffected by the type of floating debris normally found in an oil slick.

the lori system collects oils of all types and viscosities and can operate in adverse weather and sea conditions without losing performance. performance improves as oil viscosity increases. the lors can be deployed and operated by a small crew very quickly. simple and intuitive operation requires very little specialized training.


deployment of the lori oil recovery system makes entire barge an "oil slick processing system". the patented lors uses the vessels' forward motion to process surface water and oil from the collection area, formed by deflection boom, through the recovery channel. the flow of water carries oil into the lori brush conveyor, where the oil is efficiently separated and removed from the flow. the lori system "filters" and lifts oil and debris from the water, which passes through clean.

recovered oil and debris ride up the conveyor, are combed and squeezed from the bristles, and fall into the delivery trough. recovered oil and debris flow by gravity into holding tanks or into an offloading pump, such as a desmi dop-160.

brush conveyor

the lori brush conveyor consists of two or three parallel brush chains, carried on a hydraulically driven sprocket system (similar to a motorcycle). the "brush conveyor" is supported and protected within an aluminum frame. the brush cleaning mechanism is a comb-like device mounted at the upper end of the brush conveyor. during operation, the cleaner is positioned below the top axle of the conveyor, allowing recovered oil and debris to drop directly into the discharge trough.

the lori brush conveyor is designed and constructed to function in the marine environment. the frame and hardware on the brush conveyor are of marine grade aluminum or stainless steel. the brush drive chain, sprockets, and axles are stainless steel. the brush elements are made of abrasion resistant nylon core with polypropylene bristles. the brush cleaner is fabricated from steel and stainless steel and powder coated for corrosion protection.

hydraulic requirement to operate each brush conveyor is 0 to +5 gpm @ 1,500 to 2,500 psi. normal brush conveyor speed is 1 ft per second, which requires approximately 2 gpm hydraulic flow.

note -- it is recommended that the brush conveyor be removed from the recovery channel and stored on deck when not in service. storing the brush conveyor in the skimmer bay may result in accelerated corrosion damage and problematic marine growth.

when not in use, the brush conveyor should always be kept under cover to protect the plastic brushes from being damaged by uv radiation.

deflection boom

deflection boom with air inflated or foam filled buoyancy chambers should be used to concentrate oil from a large sweep area into the lori recovery channel. we recommend boom which presents a smooth profile (no square floats) to assist in deflection of liquid without creating turbulence. the boom should have a very high tensile strength if the barge will be towed by the boom. the boom should have a large freeboard and draft at the inboard end to compensate for vessel pitching and rolling.

note -- when not in use, the boom should always be kept under cover to protect the boom fabric from being damaged by uv radiation.

preparing equipment for deployment

prior to departure, check that the equipment is in good condition and that it has not been damaged during storage. make sure that all equipment is functional and that there are no missing parts, such as hydraulic hoses. replace any worn or defective parts before deployment.

due to the high transit speed expected during the voyage to the spill site, do not position the brush conveyor in the recovery channel until arrival at site. observe all organizational safety guidelines.

warning -- towing the barge at speeds greater than 5 knots with the brush conveyor deployed in the recovery channel may result in damage to the brush conveyor. it is recommended that the equipment remain secured in transit position until arrival at the spill site.

brush conveyor

check that the chains holding the brushes are adjusted to the proper tightness. too much slack in the chains can result in the chain contacting the aluminum cross members of the frame resulting in damage to the chain and aluminum frame.

each brush chain can be loosened or tightened by adjusting the screws on the lower end of the brush conveyor. these screws adjust the position of each lower chain sprocket.

note that new brush chains will stretch with use and will require occasional tightening. if the chain adjustment screws do not allow adequate tightening, remove one or two chain links as required.

note -- check chain tension before each deployment. the chain is correctly adjusted when maximum sag is ½ to 1 inch (12 to 25 mm) in the middle of the chain.

check the condition of brushes and replace individual segments if necessary. spare brush segments are provided with each lori system and are available from the manufacturer. individual brush segments can be removed by knocking out the two stainless steel pins which hold it on the brush chain.

if necessary, the whole brush chain can be removed for inspection, cleaning or repair by separating the chain at any link. the original assembly point link may be marked by a brush segment which is missing the center row of bristles. if this original link cannot be located, the chain can be separated at any convenient point. when the chain is reassembled, mark the position of the reassembled link to assist in locating it the next time.

spare link plates and a link-plate crimping tool are provided with each lori system and are available from hyde.

warning -- be sure that the chain tension is relaxed before opening a brush chain master link.

warning -- to avoid damage to the brushes, never run the brush conveyor in the reverse direction for more than a few seconds. if the cleaner for some reason has been blocked, the brush conveyor can be run in the reverse direction for only a short distance (1 to 2 feet) to clear the blockage. the brush conveyor should then be operated in the forward direction to ensure proper operation.

warning -- do not exert forces, leave heavy objects on the brushes or place the brush conveyor in such a position that the brushes are bent or squeezed, as they can be permanently bent or flattened. this will adversely effect the recovery capacity and effectiveness of the brush cleaners.

lower the brush conveyor into the skimmer bay. the brush conveyor should extend to the bottom of the recovery channel at an angle of 35° to 50° from horizontal, with the brush cleaning mechanism overhanging the oil collection hopper.

check the hydraulic hoses and connections for leaks by test running the brush conveyor. if necessary the brush conveyor can be lifted out of the recovery channel for inspection and maintenance.

transfer pump and storage facilities
oil deflection boom

upon arrival to the oil spill site


note -- the boom should not be allowed to sit too deep in the water during operation. the boom is designed to deflect the surface water and oil into the recovery channel. deploying the boom too deep in the water only increases the total drag on the vessel and reduces the available freeboard of the boom.

adjustment and trimming the deflection boom

it is important to note that the deflection boom is an integral part of the recovery system. proper adjustment of the boom will allow the vessel to operate at speeds of 1.5 knots depending on operating conditions. speeds up to 3.0 knots may be possible by using cross bridles to keep the boom in a straight "v" shape.

once the system is deployed, adjustment is necessary to keep the deflection boom in the optimum deflection shape. boom adjustments will be required as follows:

vessel forward motion can raise the height of the water in front of the sweeping boom significantly above the normal waterline. this, combined with motion of the vessel and choppy waves, may result in some surface fluid topping over the boom.

in these cases, the inboard end of the boom can be pulled up several inches and secured with the safety line to the rail in order to maintain sufficient freeboard during operation. the towing vessel will need to ease tension on the boom before making this adjustment.

if the boom forms a deep "j" or "u" shape at operating speed, surface oil may not be deflected into the recovery channel for recovery. instead, oil will be entrained and lost under the boom. the goal is to maintain the smoothest possible deflecting shape at operating speed. operators should see surface fluid flowing along the boom wall.

note -- in no case should the boom be allowed to drag in a "u" behind the inlet of the skimmer bay. if it does, slow the towing skiff speed and adjust the position relative to the other skiff and barge.

a sea anchor, deployed from the trailing end of the barge, may be required to increase drag of the vessel and keep the boom in a more efficient deflection shape.

as a check of proper adjustment during operation, a strong current of surface water and oil should be seen flowing along the boom wall into the opening of the collection channel.

warning -- great care must be used when towing the barge and deflection boom. observe all organizational safety procedures at all times. use these procedures and good seamanship as a guideline for determining the best deployment, operating and retrieval techniques.

operation of the lori equipment


when using the lors always consider safety and comply with good seamanship. sea and weather conditions must be taken into account at all times.

if possible, always operate the vessel in the direction of the waves.

avoid large floating obstacles and debris which may damage the recovery system.

observe the water flow pattern along the deflecting boom and into the recovery channel. if the boom sags into a "j" shape and the flow slows or stops, oil may begin to escape underneath the boom due to entrainment. if this happens, slow and reposition and towing skiff(s).

check regularly that the deflection boom is standing upright and is remaining in an efficient deflecting shape along its entire length. adjust the speed and position of the towing skiffs as needed.

check regularly that the deflection boom is adjusted to the correct height at the recovery channel end. to avoid splash over, the boom should have a freeboard of 40% to 50% of its inboard height during operation. adjust the inboard height by pulling the boom up and securing with the safety line. it will be necessary to stop the towing skiffs and ease the boom tension in order to adjust the inboard height.

note -- the nominal operating speed of the brush conveyor is 1 ft/sec (0.3 m/s).

operate the brush coneyor as slow as possible to match to incoming flow of oil and oily debris. observe the quality of oil being recovered and adjust vessel speed and brush speed accordingly. if very little oil is being recovered, slow the brush speed to reduce the volume of water recovered.

operating the brush conveyor at high brush speeds creates a backward current within the recovery channel that can actually push the oil away and reduce the recovery rate. operating the brush conveyor at too high a speed also increases the water content of the recovered oil, reducing the overall recovery efficiency.

the lori system recovers small debris such as sticks, sea weed, and trash together with oil. check the oil discharge hopper regularly to be sure that debris does not block narrow passages or debris grating.

if a large floating solid object such as a log enters the recovery channel, shut off hydraulic flow to the motor immediately. large debris should be removed from the channel before it impacts the brush conveyor to avoid damage.

if a brush chain breaks, shut off hydraulic flow to the motor immediately. the chain can be repaired using a new chain link or the chain can be removed until an opportunity arises to affect repairs. the brush conveyor can be operated with one less brush chain as long as necessary but some oil will escape through the void space.

a length of floating sorbent boom may be secured inside of the water discharge trunk to adsorb any small amount of sheen that may pass the recovery brushes.

vessel speed versus brush speed

the recovery speed of the barge should be adjusted in accordance with the environmental conditions and the oil to be recovered:

operational modes


the lori system is primarily an advancing system. it requires some relative movement of water through the skimmer bays. however the lori system can be used in stationary mode to support shoreline cleanup operations where oil can be washed toward the recovery device. it can also be used to harvest oil from within a contained area by slowly reducing the boom length, decreasing the contained area, and therefore concentrating the oil to the brushes.

in the presence of a current, the lori vessel can hold station and await the oil to flow into the recovery system. in a river, containment boom can be anchored upstream of the lori vessel to deflect and concentrate oil toward the skimming system. in deep water, enhanced booming techniques using boats can be used (see j boom). in both cases, careful consideration must be given to the boom's ability to handle the speed of the current.


the barge is a powerful self-contained oil recovery system. when possible, operate the vessel in the same direction as the spreading oil slick. the lori is ideal for skimming along "windrows" and in tidal "rips".

if oil is to be recovered in congested areas, such as in a crowded harbor or in shallow water near shorelines, it is recommended that the vessel operates at relatively slow speeds, scooping and filling the sweeping boom full of oil. it can then proceed into open water and increase speed until the oil is forced into the lori skimmer bay.

the normal operating configuration is for the barge to be towed behind two boom towing skiffs to continuously funnel oil from a large area into the lori system.

enhanced booming techniques can be used to increase oil encounter rate (feed more oil into the brushes) and increase the effectiveness of a single lori vessel:


upon arriving in areas of lower oil concentration, the vessel speed may be increased until a thicker patch of oil is encountered.

for short transits between areas of high oil concentration, the brush conveyor can be left in the recovery channel. the deflection boom should be detached from the recovery barge and towed by the skiffs separate from the barge. it is possible that for short distances and at slow speed, the skimming barge can be towed with the deflection booms streaming behind the barge.

for longer transits or rough conditions, the deflection boom and brush conveyor should be lifted onto the deck and secured.

dismantling the equipment
cleaning the equipment

marco sidewinder

for marco sidewinder specifications, click here

the following instructions are for the sidewinder series skimmers equipped with the "short pin" davit. if other davit or pivot configurations are used, they will be described in an addendum to the manual.

right and left hand configurations. the belt units can be fabricated as either right or left hand units. as you look from the drive end of the belt unit toward the float end, a right hand unit is on the right hand side of the davit and has the speed controls on the left side of the belt unit. a left hand unit mounts on the left side of the davit, and has the speed controls on the right side of the belt unit. all the units shown in figure 1 are left hand units.

figure 1 figure 1

davit location the davit should be mounted as shown in figure 2. the davit should be mounted as close to the rail a possible so the davit arm can hold the belt unit over the rail with plenty of room for belt unit motion. if possible, the davit should be positioned within the mid-ship one-third length to reduce relative motion caused by the vessel pitching.

figure 2 figure 2

where possible, the davit should be installed directly over continuously welded deck stiffeners. alternately, a doubler plate may be installed, but the stiffeners below should still be continuously welded to the deck beneath the doubler plate. the davit is rated for 500 pounds at its 57-inch radius (227 kg at 1.45m).

pivot arm orientation when assembling the davit, slide the pivot arm on the davit before inserting the davit into the socket. the pivot arm must be oriented so that when the support arm is pointing outboard, the pivot pintle points to the left for left hand belt units, or to the right for right hand belt units. if the pintle points the wrong way, the belt unit drive motors will hit the davit when the belt unit is deployed.

deployment of the sidewinder filterbelt unit
figure 3 figure 3

note -- remember that the discharge of oil, even from an oil recovery vessel, can be an unlawful act. ensure that decanting is carried out in a manner that is consistent with federal and local laws.

hydraulic power requirements

under maximum load conditions, the sidewinder requires up to 10 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow at up to 1,600 psi.

filterbelt oil recovery

installing the filterbelt the filterbelt consists of a 2-piece backing belt, two splice pins, and auxiliary pads. the filterbelts for the different sidewinder configurations are as follows:

basic backing belt pin 21680 pin 21680 pin 21680
backing belt extension pin 24416 pin 24866 pin 24697
# of pads per set 5 6 7

the two sections of backing belt must be fed onto the belt unit as shown in figure 4 and connected together with pins (figure 5). pads have hook strips sewn onto the leading edge and both sides to match the loop strips on the backing belts.

figure 4 figure 4

figure 5 figure 5

note -- when installing the filterbelt, or working on the module, be sure the hydraulic power source is secured and the hydraulic controls are in the full off position.

to install the filterbelt for the first time, find the arrow on one end of the belt. the arrow indicates the upper side of the belt and points in the direction of travel when the belt is installed. place the belt upside down behind the module with the arrow pointing toward the float end. work the belt in under the drive roller and over the squeeze roller. work the belt down through the underside of the framework, staying above the rollers. when you get close to pulling the belt section inside the belt unit, couple the second section of belt to the first, again checking the directional and top/ bottom orientation of the new section. after pushing the splice pin through the joint, bend the ends of the pin back so they do not hang up on anything or gouge the sides of the belt unit. pull the spliced combination up and around the induction pump housing, over the top of the grid and top of the belt unit back toward the drive end. leave the end that you have been pulling and return to the trailing end. feed the trailing end between the drive roller and the scraper, up and over to the first end. splice the two ends together; again bending the pin ends back. the belt should be quite loose. lift the belt near the center of the belt unit to check the tightness. the belt should lift up about a foot (300 mm).

belts sometimes shrink during storage. if the belt is too tight to mate up the ends and insert the splice pin, it can be lengthened by about three inches by carefully cutting the stitching at a lapped joint. this joint can be found under the flap at the leading edge of the shorter of the two belt sections, very near the splice connection.

when replacing a worn out filterbelt with a new one, attach the new filterbelt to the old one and pull it through the module as you pull off the old one.

installing filterbelt pads

install the pads, one by one, pressing the hook and loop strips firmly together. there are several types of pads available as shown in the following list.

part number oil type
2278 oil sheen
24851 diesel
21682 lube & lt. crude
24115 heavy oil

refer to deployment modes in figure l. the marco sidewinder oil recovery system is often used as a stationary skimmer. when spilled oil is contained, the nose of the sidewinder can be placed in the pool of oil. the induction pump then draws oil from the surrounding surface area so that the filterbelt can recover it.

the sidewinder can also be used as an advancing skimmer when deployed over-the- side from a suitable host vessel. when used for this purpose, it is best to use a single leg of containment boom led outboard and forward from the side of the vessel to divert the oil to a collection area. this type of collection system is called a "j boom" sweep, because of the characteristic shape of the boom catenary. the sidewinder is then deployed such that the nose is pointed aft into the collection area of the sweep. the outboard leg of the j-boom can be held by a support boat, or tended from the host vessel with a structural outrigger.

once the nose of the sidewinder is positioned in the collection pocket, start the induction pump and the filterbelt. adjust the speed of each to suit conditions. the following are very general guidelines. you will gain experience as you use the filterbelt oil recovery system and after some experimenting, will become experienced and confident.

  1. with thick, heavy oil or emulsions use the backing belt alone. adjust the filterbelt speed to a relatively high value, 0.6 to 1 meter per second. use high induction pump speed.
  2. with less viscous oils, use filterpads and lower belt speeds. reduce induction pump speed if there are signs of oil in the induction pump exhaust flow.

maintenance & repair of marco sidewinder skimmers


the marco sidewinder skimmer module is simple and robust construction, requiring very little routine maintenance. when in storage, it should be protected from the elements. a simple tarpaulin is usually sufficient to prevent:

it is vital that the filterbelt pads and belts not be exposed to direct sunlight when not in use. the pads and certain elements of other filtering media will degrade rapidly under exposure to ultraviolet light.

periodic maintenance when in daily use

the following inspections should be carried out on a daily basis during a recovery operation:

the squeeze roller pivot bearing should be greased weekly during ongoing recovery operations. grease fittings are located under the side cover.


the following table provides information for recognizing, location and correcting malfunctions in the marco sidewinder filterbelt system.

symptoms probably cause corrective action
filterbelt does not move when speed control is activated. no hydraulics to console.
jammed debris.
faulty control value.
faulty motor.
check hydraulic source.
clear debris.
repair or replace.
repair or replace.
filterbelt slips jammed debris.
inadequate squeeze roller pressure.
clear debris.
adjust spring tension, repair or replace tension cylinder or leaf spring
filterbelt tracks poorly induction pump housing misaligned.
damaged filterbelt.
adjust position of induction pump housing using shims.
replace filterbelt.
poor water flow through filterbelt. faulty impeller.
faulty motor.
excessive draft at forward end.
clogged pads.
induction pump discharge clogged.
repair or replace
repair or replace
raise filterbelt module by repositioning floats
change pads or use backing belt without pads
remove belt or exhaust deflector and clear debris
induction pump does not operate when speed control is activated. no hydraulics to control.
jammed debris in induction pump
motor jammed
check hydraulic source
clear debris
replace faulty motor

weir skimmers

foilex tds 250

for foilex tds specifications, click here

the foilex tds 250 weir skimmer is a hydraulically operated, vertically mounted, screw pump that is fitted with a floatation collar and floatation frame. the screw pump’s capacity at maximum speed is 580 gallons/minute. the skimmer operates on the weir theory where the floatation collar surrounding the pump conforms to the water’s surface. oil floating on the surface will flow over the top of the floatation collar and into the hopper that feeds the screw pump. the pump operation then moves this recovered oil/water to the separator tank. because the pump literally tries to screw itself into the water, the skimmer pump speed needs to be constantly monitored to ensure as little water, and as much oil, as possible are recovered. the skimmer pump speed is regulated at the control panel on the power pack. also at the control panel is the direction control for the skimmer pump. if large amounts of debris collect in the hopper, the direction of the skimmer can be reversed so the trash can be blown out. the upper end of the pump screw is fitted with knife edges that can chop up most soft materials such as kelp, seaweed or small sticks. hard objects such as pieces of metal, large logs, bolts, etc. can not be chopped up by the knife edges, and will damage the sealing discs on the pump.

advantages disadvantages
capable in open ocean and rough sea conditions (seas to aft). heavy oils sometimes require manual assistance to flow over weir.
can pump highly viscous oils and soft debris such as seaweed, ice, large sticks, etc. recovers lots of water.
positive displacement screw pump does not require priming. pump seals easily wear out.
rugged yet simple skimmer design. large, heavy equipment skids make it difficult to transport.
very high capacity recovery system. complicated power pack and system design.

the foilex system is a skid mounted component system that is a high capacity oil recovery device. two equipment skids make up a complete system. the first skid contains a diesel driven hydraulic power pack that powers the other components of the system. also located on this skid are the foilex tds 250 skimmer and a hydraulically powered crane and controls. the second skid contains the “boom in a box” system. this skid is a large oil-water separator tank with a reel that is located within the tank. three hundred feet of 44” inflatable oil stop open water (ocean) boom is contained on this reel. also attached to the tank is a hydraulically powered transfer pump that is used to pump recovered oil to temporary storage. each component of the foilex system, how it is assembled, operated and oil recovered, is discussed in detail below.

power pack -- foilex tds-250

the power pack consists of a three cylinder, air cooled, electrically started deutz diesel engine that drives a high capacity hydraulic pump. the hydraulic fluid is pumped through connecting hoses, via a manifold, to the other system components. the hydraulic side of the power pack is a pressure compensated system (i.e. all system components see the same hydraulic pressure), and the flow rate of hydraulic oil is varied by solenoids and electronic controls to vary each component’s operating speed.

caution: never place your hands or feet in or near the screw pump. if it is necessary to remove any object from the screw -- follow lock-out, tag-out procedures.

separator tank

the skimmed oil is then pumped to the second skid which contains the 2,000 gallon separator tank. this tank has a weir at the opposite end that is fitted with a trash screen. the theory is that after the oil-water mixture is pumped into the tank, it separates with the oil floating to the top. the oil is then allowed to flow over the top of the weir and is pumped to storage. the separated water is then decanted back into the slick for the recovery of any oil that may not have separated out. the tank is fitted with a granco 3” hydraulically powered transfer pump. this pump is also activated from the power pack control panel. pumping speed can also be varied from the control panel. by varying the pump's speed to conform to the recovery speed of the oil, the tank level can be maintained. this pump may not operate while the skimmer is running. to pump off recovered oil, stop the skimmer and energize the transfer pump switch. the transfer pump should now operate. the pump and skimmer may have to be operated in this alternating fashion. at any rate, the process of recovering oil should be a slow one to minimize the amount of water recovered with the oil. additionally, if the separator tank is not monitored, it will eventually over-fill, and the oil slick will then be on the deck of the vessel you are standing on.

system set-up -- deck configuration

because the foilex is intended for use on “vessels of opportunity skimming system (voss)," the design allows for a variety of set-up options.

note -- the foilex can also be deployed from shore.

since it's never known on which vessel the system will be deployed, hard and fast rules can not be established. the following guidelines are provided; each skid measures 8 x 10 feet, requiring a vessel with at least this much deck space, keeping in mind additional room is necessary for hose runs, walkways, etc. space must also be allotted for the unitor (recovered oil storage) bags and their hoses. since this system will probably be used offshore, arranging the equipment on deck where normal equipment operating positions would place personnel against the rail or bulwark should be avoided.

if the equipment is to be loaded on a tug, the power pack should be loaded on the starboard side with the crane aft, and the tank loaded on the port side with the boom door facing aft and the transfer pump forward.

larger vessels with more deck space can alter this layout somewhat, but the tank should be situated so the boom can easily be deployed over the side or stern, and the power pack located so the skimmer can be safely deployed and recovered. both skids should be well dunnaged and griped to the deck. dunnage, lashing chain, load binders, shackles, etc. are provided, and all equipment should be secured prior to departure from port.

the unitor bags should be secured close to the stern. bags should be secured in their lifting slings. care must be taken to insure lines or straps do not chafe the bag as it shifts in the seaway. draping a cargo net over the bag, and securing it is the easiest way to secure the bag to the vessel.

skimmer assembly
pre start-ip checklist
start up -- diesel power pack

the following are the procedures to start the diesel power pack:

skimmer deployment

deploying the foilex skimmer is rather easy. since a load is being handled with a crane, hoisting safety and safe crane operation must be followed.

to assemble the foilex:

caution -- sufficient hose needs to be provided to get the skimmer into the apex of the boom. several lengths of hydraulic or discharge hose may have to be connected. hydraulic connections should be duct taped to ensure no hydraulic oil is lost, or seawater enters the hydraulic system. the hydraulic and discharge hoses should be fitted with the orange hose floats in the equipment box on the power skid. the hose floats should be secured so floats do not slide together into one bundle.

skimmer, transfer pump and separator operation

the skimmer is designed to be operated at variable speeds, depending on the viscosity of the oil. generally, the lighter the oil and the thinner the slick, the slower the skimmer pump must be operated. remember that the weir skimmer operates on the theory that the oil layer will flow over the top of the weir collar.

the faster the pump is operated, the more it will try to screw the skimmer into the water.

when operated, the skimmer requires constant monitoring to ensure that the rotating speed is appropriate for the slick conditions. keep in mind that the job is finished when all of the oil has been recovered; recovering water does not do a bit of good, as storage is precious.

the decant storage tank needs constant monitoring. the tank holds 2,000 gallons of liquid. the recovered oil/water that is being pumped into the bottom needs time to separate before the oil can be pumped to storage. this tank can be filled in less than four minutes. if it is not monitored, it can be overfilled. it may be necessary to skim and pump into the tank for a while, and then give the oil time to separate before pumping it off, and recommencing skimming. this may also be true if the skimmer is scavenging enough flow from the hydraulic system to prevent the starting of the transfer pump or maintaining its discharge speed.

skimmer recovery

recovering the skimmer is basically the opposite of deploying it. some procedural modifications have been incorporated to make it easier.

chapter 8 - pumps

chapter 9 - storage devices

storage devices are equipment components that hold oil recovered by skimmers for final disposal. they come in many shapes and sizes, and may be as simple as a garbage bag or as complicated as a fuel barge. this discussion is limited to seapro’s portable tanks used to hold oil recovered from skimming operations. seapro has two different types of storage devices; those designed for use on land (shore storage), and those designed for use on the water (portable storage).

shore storage

canflex bags

seapro’s primary shore storage device is the canflex bag. these are either 1,000 or 3,000 gallon capacity vinyl tanks. the tanks have an open top with a floatation collar, and an inlet pipe and valve at the bottom. as recovered product is pumped from the skimmer/transfer pump, it enters the bottom of the tank. as the liquid level in the tank rises, the floatation collar prevents it from spilling out the top.

operating instructions and precautions

vikoma flexible/floating storage tank

the vikoma flexible/floating storage tank is a portable storage tank that is useable on either land or water. two tank filling connections are located on top of the tank. the connections are fitted with spring loaded check valves that accept a special vikoma loading adapter. there are also two inflation chambers, one on each side, that help provide floatation when the tank is used on the water, but also act as bumpers when the tank is used on land. when laid out, the tank is 20 ft long and 8 ft wide. the tank capacity on land is half that of when it is afloat due to the uneven stresses on the tank fabric. on land, the tank can hold up to 1,600 gallons.

operating instructions and precautions

caution -- these flaps will not prevent the tank from rolling over when set up on an incline. if there is a possibility that the tank may roll, a retaining barrier of sand of small stones must be erected to hold the tank in place before operations commence.

caution -- do not attempt to move or lift the tank unless it is completely empty.

unitor oil bag

the unitor oil bag is a flexible container specially designed for oil spill emergencies. seapro has two different sizes of unitor bag: 25,000 gallons (595 bbls) and 250,000 gallons (5952 bbls). the bag consists of two parts; the bag fabric with floatation pads incorporated, and the nose cone. the mild steel nose cone consists of the hose connections and the towing point. due to its size, the large unitor oil bag is the most difficult piece of equipment in the seapro inventory to handle. extreme caution should be exercised while handling the bag to avoid injury or mishap to either the bag or the people around it. slow and careful planning and operation are essential when working with the bag during any operation.

unitor bag deployment and operations

as an alternative, the unitor bag can be deployed at the pier and towed to the spill site. to deploy the bag, hang it over the water, free of obstructions, from either the crane or forklift. when everything is ready, operate the quick release hook, which will dump the bag from the lifting sling into the water. the bag can then be towed to the spill site, and the hoses connected when arriving on scene.

caution -- the bag should never be towed at a speed exceeding 5 knots, otherwise damage will occur to the bag.

unitor bag recovery

several options exist with what to do with the bag. judgment based on the on-scene conditions and the vessels involved must be exercised in order to get the recovered oil to a port where the oil can be disposed.

chapter 10 - decontamination

decontamination plan

the decontamination plan should be developed as a component of the site safety and health plan. decontamination should be set up before any personnel or equipment enter areas where the potential for exposure to hazardous substances exists. the decontamination plan should:

seapro decontamination equipment

seapro decontamination equipment is located in pre-positioned containers throughout southeast alaska. all necessary resources needed to establish multiple decontamination stations are located in these containers. please refer to the inventory section of this handbook for a complete inventory of decontamination equipment.

contamination prevention

the first step of decontamination is to establish procedures that minimize the potential for contamination. such procedures include:

contamination prevention/minimization method explanation
minimize contact time with contaminants do not walk through areas of obvious contamination
do not physically touch objects that are obviously contaminated
remote procedures use equipment to handle contaminated material
covers for equipment use protective covers for monitoring and radio equipment
cover equipment and tools with a coating which can be removed during decontamination
disposable clothing wear disposable ppe
use disposable equipment where appropriate
encase or cover contaminants use plastic sheeting to encase the contaminants

decontamination methods

type of removal method description
physical removal brushing
pressure washing
loose material may bbe brushed off ppe and equipment
solids and viscous liquids may bbe brushed from surfaces
some contaminants may be removed by rinsing with water or pressure washers
steam may be used to remove petroleum products from some equipment

contaminants that are water soluble may be washed repeatedly to decontaminate
chemical removal dissolving
contaminants can be removed bby dissolving them in a solvent care must be taken to ensure that the solvent is chemically compatible with the equipment bbeing ccleaned
reduce adhesion forces between contaminants and the surface being cleaned. household detergents are commonly used. surfactants
solidifying liquid contaminants can enhance physical removal and is accomplished through:
  • moisture removal through the use of absorbents such as grounded clay or powdered lime
  • chemical reactions via polymerization catalysts and chemical reagents
  • freezing using ice and water

some recommended equipment for decontamination of personnel, ppe, and equipment¹

typical decontamination station

decon station layout

decon station layout

chapter 11 - wildlife

during an oil spill incident, wildlife, such as birds and mammals may come in contact with oil in the water or along the shore. oiled wildlife may pose special hazards for response personnel. do not approach or try to rescue oiled wildlife. government permits and permission are required for capture, transport, stabilization, treatment or active hazing (using pyrotechnic devices, sonic devices, or vehicles ) of any wildlife. these activities must be done by authorized, specially trained personnel. passive wildlife hazing (using mylar tape, netting, balloons) does not require a permit. for a list of government agencies to contact for permits, contact seapro or refer to the seapro technical manual.


uninjured wildlife

if wildlife is observed in the projected path of the oil, report the species, number and location to your supervisor.

oiled wildlife

do not approach or try to capture. threatened wildlife can strike at your face and hands. report the species, number and location of the wildlife to your supervisor. also provide your best estimate of the degree of animal oiling, such as light, moderate, heavy, or not noted. capturing oiled wildlife should only be done by authorized, trained specialists.

dead wildlife

if you encounter dead wildlife, and it does or will interfere with cleanup:

warning -- before you handle dead wildlife, consult with wildlife experts, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (ppe)

wildlife organizations
organization/expertise location phone number
birds - raptor rehabilitation center sitka, alaska (907) 747-8662
birds - international bird rescue anchorage, alaska (907) 230-2492

appendix a - seapro equipment

for a complete listing of seapro equipment, specifications and locations visit seapro equipment.

appendix b - site assesment matrix

prior to any work area entry an assesment must be completed. typically this accomplished by the event safety officer but you could be called upon to do the pre-entry assessment. the following check list will guide you through ensuring working conditions are safe enough for work teams to procede into the exclusion zone for cleanup activities.

seapro site characterization entry plan

date time location completed by:
respiratory equipment to be worn by the entry team:
half-face respirator with organic vapor cartridges
full-face respirator with organic vapor cartridges
self-contained breathing apparatus (30 minute)
self-contained breathing apparatus (15 minute)
in-line supplied air respirator
respiratory protection to be worn:
full time during entry
not worn, but broken out, activated and ready to don
not worn, but accessible
additional ppe to be worn by entry team:
hard hat
steel toed boots
personal flotation device
poly-coated tyvek suit
rubber gloves ( ______ worn, ______ not worn, but accessible)
recommended equipment to be taken on-scene
hand held radio, with spare battery
local chart
emergency smoke signal
pelican (king) flashlight
flare kit
portable freon horn
air monitor
wind annemometer
hand held gps unit
sample log with pencils
duties of the boat operator
boat checked for proper safety outfitting (fire extinguishers, etc.)
boat checkout sheet complete
radio check complete
discuss with supervisor procedures and personnel duties
all equipment loaded and properly stored (lashed)
scba bottles filled to capacity with breathing air
local charts aboard
have all personnel attended the site entry briefing?
have all personnel reviewed and signed the site characterization plan?

appendix c - acronyms and chemical abbreviations

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