Oil Spill Risks from Tank Vessel Lightering

Committee on Oil Spill Risks from Tank Vessel Lightering

Marine Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998



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--> Oil Spill Risks from Tank Vessel Lightering Committee on Oil Spill Risks from Tank Vessel Lightering Marine Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was supported by Contract DTMA91-94-G-00003 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 98-75577 International Standard Book Number 0-309-06190-3 Limited copies are available from: Marine Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418. Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Cover Photo Credit: OMI Petrolink. Printed in the United States of America

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--> COMMITTEE ON OIL SPILL RISKS FROM TANK VESSEL LIGHTERING DON E. KASH, chair, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia TRICIA CLARK, Oil Spill Division of Texas General Land Office, Austin ALFRED COLE, Chevron Shipping Company, Pascagoula, Mississippi EDWARD C. CROSS, Plimsoll Shipping, Inc., Houston, Texas DUANE H. LAIBLE, Glosten Associates, Inc., Seattle, Washington J. BRADFORD MOONEY, JR., consultant, Arlington, Virginia STEPHEN D. RICKS, Clean Bay, Inc., Concord, California EDWIN J. ROLAND, Bona Shipping (U.S.), Inc., Houston, Texas RICHARD J. STEADY, Maritrans Operating Partners, L.P., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania JOHN B. TORGAN, Save the Bay, Providence, Rhode Island W.M. von ZHAREN, Texas A&M University, Galveston Liaisons of Sponsoring Agencies STEPHEN L. KANTZ, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, D.C. ZELVIN LEVINE, U.S. Maritime Administration, Washington, D.C. Marine Board Liaison STEVEN T. SCALZO, Foss Maritime Company, Seattle, Washington Marine Board Staff PETER A. JOHNSON, Acting Director THERESA M. FISHER, Administrative Assistant LAURA OST, Consultant

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--> MARINE BOARD JAMES M. COLEMAN, NAE, chair, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge JERRY A. ASPLAND, vice chair, The California Maritime Academy, Vallejo BERNHARD J. ABRAHAMSSON, consultant, Superior, Wisconsin LARRY P. ATKINSON, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia PETER F. BONTADELLI, California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento LILLIAN C. BORRONE, NAE, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey BILIANA CICIN-SAIN, University of Delaware, Newark SYLVIA A. EARLE, Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Oakland, California BILLY L. EDGE, Texas A&M University, College Station JOHN W. FARRINGTON, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts MARTHA GRABOWSKI, LeMoyne College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cazenovia, New York R. KEITH MICHEL, Herbert Engineering, San Francisco, California JEROME H. MILGRAM, NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JAMES D. MURFF, Exxon Production Research Company, Houston, Texas STEVEN T. SCALZO, Foss Maritime Company, Seattle, Washington MALCOLM L. SPAULDING, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett ROD VULOVIC, Sea-Land Service, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina E.G. "SKIP" WARD, Texas A&M University, College Station Staff PETER A. JOHNSON, Acting Director DANA CAINES, Financial Associate SUSAN GARBINI, Senior Staff Officer THERESA M. FISHER, Administrative Assistant DONNA HENRY, Project Assistant

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--> Preface Lightering first emerged as a common practice in U.S. waters, particularly the Gulf of Mexico, almost 30 years ago. Historically, there has been little reason to question the safety of lightering, despite the apparent risks involved in transferring cargo between two vessels that are under way, drifting, or anchored at sea. However, public concerns about oil spills have drawn congressional attention to lightering in recent years. Concerns have also been raised by some observers of the maritime industry about the safety implications of projected increases in waterborne U.S. oil imports and certain lightering-related provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (P.L. 101–380). The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 (P.L. 104–324) requires the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to coordinate with the Marine Board of the National Research Council to conduct studies on the risks of oil spills from lightering operations off U.S. coasts. Accordingly, an 11-member committee was convened under the auspices of the Marine Board. The committee was asked to accomplish the following tasks: investigate the frequency and risks of accidents from lightering operations assess the existing regulatory and management framework recommend measures that could reduce the risks of oil spills The committee was constituted to include members with expertise in tanker and lightering operations, risk assessment, regulatory and management approaches to accident prevention, oil spill accident analysis, environmental protection, international rules and standards, and USCG prevention and enforcement

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--> practices. The principle guiding the constitution of the committee and its work, consistent with NRC policy, was not to exclude members with potential biases if they had expertise vital to the study but to seek balance and fair treatment of the subject. The biographies of committee members are provided in Appendix A. The committee met four times over a one-year period, and subgroups of the committee held one additional meeting and visited three lightering operations in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Delaware Bay (a complete list of meetings and presenters is provided in Appendix B). The committee also reviewed previous studies of lightering safety and collected data on accidents and spills from the USCG, industry groups and individual companies, and state agencies. The data are summarized in the report, and additional details are provided in appendices C, D, and E. Additional background information collected for this study included relevant letters (Appendix F), regulations (Appendix G), and industry safety guidelines and checklists (Appendix H). The study focused narrowly on the risks of oil spills from lightering, which was defined as the transfer at sea of crude oil or petroleum products from one vessel to another. The committee attempted to identify and assess only those spills that could be directly attributed to the lightering operation rather than spills that may have occurred coincidentally during the approach, transfer, or post-transfer phases of lightering. Bunkering, automatic cargo shutoff valves, formal risk assessment, and a comparison of lightering and alternative methods of oil delivery were beyond the scope of the study. The committee wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the more than two dozen representatives of industry and government who made presentations during meetings and shared additional background information in other contexts. All of this information was crucial to the study process, especially in light of deficiencies in existing accident databases and the decentralization of the lightering industry. The committee wishes to acknowledge USCG liaison Lieutenant Commander Stephen L. Kantz, who provided background on the regulatory regime and USCG data on lightering-related accidents and spills. In addition, the committee wishes to thank the persons and organizations listed in Appendix B for their extra efforts and valuable contributions to the study. These include: the Coast Guard Captains of the Port and Marine Safety Office personnel in Houston, Galveston, Philadelphia, Long Island Sound, San Francisco, and San Diego; members of the Industry Taskforce on Offshore Lightering; the firms, SeaRiver Maritime, Skaugen PetroTrans, Inc., Chevron Shipping Company, and Maritrans, who provided special data and hosted visits by committee members; and Dr. Zelvin Levine, the Maritime Administration liaison to the study. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspective and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the

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--> institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Gary L. Borman, University of Wisconsin Dennis L. Bryant, Haight, Garden, Poor and Havens John W. Farrington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Michael J. Herz, Consultant R. Keith Michel, Herbert Engineering Ronald P. Nordgren, Rice University Malcolm L. Spaulding, University of Rhode Island Emmett G. Ward, Texas A&M University While the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   9     Lightering at a Glance   12     Safety Record   15     Summary   26     References   27 2   Lightering Primer   28     Overview of U.S. Lightering Activity   28     Government and Industry Controls   38     The Lightering Process   42     Summary   49     References   49 3   Lightering Vessels, Systems, and the External Environment   50     Vessels and Special Systems   51     External Factors   62     Summary   67     References   68 4   Procedures, Practices, and Human Factors   69     Overview   69     Vessel Management and Safety Standards   74     Cooperative Efforts to Improve Learning and Performance   77

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-->     Industry Guidelines for Inshore Lightering   79     Communications   80     Human Factors   81     Risk Evaluation   84     Summary   85     References   86 5   Conclusions and Recommendations   87     Recommendations for Shipping Companies and Organizations   87     Recommendations for the U.S. Coast Guard and Other Federal Agencies   91     Acronyms   95     Appendixes         A Biographies of Committee Members   99     B Committee Meetings, Subgroup Meetings, and Site Visits   103     C U.S. Coast Guard Data on Lightering Incidents, 1984 to 1996   106     D Data on East Coast Lightering Operations and Incidents   110     E Data on West Coast Lightering Operations and Incidents   111     F Letter Regarding Chevron Shipping Company's Offshore Lightering Plans   114     G Lightering Zone Regulations   117     H Safety Checklists   119     I Statement of Task   125

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--> Figures, Tables, and Boxes Figures 1-1   U.S. lightering operations   15 1-2   Oil spills of more than 10,000 gallons into U.S. maritime waters, 1970 to 1997   17 1-3   Locations of lightering incidents   18 1-4   Lightering spills by primary cause, 1984 to 1996   19 1-5   Lightering spills by secondary cause, 1984 to 1996   19 2-1   Crude oil deliveries to U.S. ports by lightering, 1986 to 1996   30 2-2   Designated lightering zones and prohibited areas in the Gulf of Mexico   34 3-1   Recommended mooring arrangements for offshore lightering   58 4-1   Timeline for Gulf of Mexico lightering   70 E-1   San Francisco Bay lightering, 1997   113 H-1   Typical lightering safety checklist   120

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--> Tables   1-1   Lightering Incidents in the Gulf of Mexico, 1993 to 1997   23 1-2   Spills Attributed Directly to Lightering off U.S. Coasts, 1993 to 1997   26 2-1   Sources of U.S. Crude Oil Imports Delivered by Offshore Lightering, 1994   29 2-2   Traditional Lightering Areas in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico   35 2-3   Regimes for U.S. Coast Guard Control of Lightering Operations   39 C-1   U.S. Coast Guard CASMAIN Database of Lightering Incidents in U.S. Waters, 1984 to 1996   107 E-1   Summary of Oil Spills, California, 1992 to 1997   111 E-2   Summary of Oil Spills, Washington State, 1992 to 1997   111 E-3   Chevron, Summary of Lightering, West Coast   112 E-4   British Petroleum, Summary of Lightering, West Coast, 1987 to 1997   112 E-5   Exxon, Summary of Lightering, West Coast, San Francisco Harbor, 1992 to 1997   112 E-6   Summary of West Coast Lightering   113 E-7   Chevron's Overall Lightering Experience, 1970 to 1997   113 Boxes 1-1   Definitions   13 1-2   Lightering Worldwide   16 1-3   A Case of ''Limited Communication''   22 2-1   Requirements for Spill Response Plans   40 2-2   Companies That Provide Lightering Services   43 2-3   Personnel Involved in Lightering Operations   44 4-1   The Lightering Process   71 4-2   Responsible Carrier Program   76

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