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IOSA accomplishes important tasks in busy summer

Summer Update from Islands Oil Spill Association by IOSA's Interim Executive Director Paul Hamdorf: As you likely know, Tony Parkin left his position as the Executive Director of IOSA on June 1st and I have taken on the role of Interim Executive Director. Tony put in an incredible amount of work to move IOSA forward and he’s going to make a great super-volunteer in the years to come!

My goal is to build on Tony’s work and ensure that we can safely and effectively provide reliable assistance to spill responses in San Juan County. It has been a busy summer and I wanted to share some information about what has been happening with IOSA and where things are going as we head into the fall.

One big project ticked off our to-do list was the organization and cleanup of the IOSA workshop space in Friday Harbor near the airport. We asked for volunteers and put together a “work party” to get a bunch of stuff done. Thanks to Jerry McElyea, Steve Ulvi, Ken Weatherill, Richard Liepelt and Brendan Cowan for taking on the dirty job of organizing the shop, and cutting the tall grass to allow us access to our trailers and other response gear. We got a tremendous amount of work done in an afternoon and greatly improved our ability to maintain and store our valuable equipment.

I had the opportunity to meet many of you when I recently made visits around the islands. I very much appreciated the support and excitement that I saw and heard. One thing I heard over and over was that there is real interest in training that emphasizes hands-on response techniques. I also learned that there is a great desire to meet other potential responders and do some team building.

As a result, we have scheduled 3 trainings that will occur in September. The trainings will be conducted in a drill type manner, and will focus on the very basics of response. It will be hands on and practical for situations that arise in and around our marinas. I am hopeful that this will be the beginning of a series of activities that get us together to learn, build teams, and have a little fun. You can find more info about the trainings HERE, including this link to register. If you have additional questions, please e-mail me paulh@iosaonline.org.

In addition to the work above, the IOSA Board has been working hard to reach out to our response partners in the area. We have had several visits to the County with leaders from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) and other response groups. The amount of support for IOSA is encouraging and we are focusing on ways to cooperatively work with each other in an efficient manner. A very good example of the work being done can be seen in a recording of a recent County Council Meeting. Working with response partners is a high priority for the Board and myself.

In the past few months, we have worked closely with our partner agencies to support pollution responses in our county. Here are a few incidents with brief descriptions:

April 8th 2022

In the early morning the USCG called IOSA and asked for assistance in locating a vessel that ran aground during the night hours. After receiving directions, an IOSA volunteer located a 28’ sailboat on the rocks near Pile Point on San Juan Island. The boat was not broken up and was a good candidate for salvage when the weather conditions improved. IOSA forwarded photos to the Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology. When weather improved the vessel was salvaged and moved to safe moorage without incident.

June 15, 2022

IOSA received notification from the US Coast Guard that a vessel near Decatur Island had caught fire. The passengers were able to escape, but the boat eventually burned to the waterline. The owners had insurance and arranged for salvage and cleanup with a local contractor. IOSA communicated throughout the day with the Department of Ecology. We did not respond, but were on stand-by with local resources in case they were needed. The vessel was successfully salvaged and removed from the

June 26, 2022

IOSA received a report that a vessel had sunk in Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island. The US Coast Guard asked IOSA to confirm the location and to send an on-scene report. Within 30 minutes IOSA volunteer Page Read arrived at the scene and confirmed the vessel was underwater, but not leaking fuel. He also confirmed that the fuel onboard was gasoline and a small amount of engine oil.

Read remained in the area while the boat was raised by a contractor and removed from the water on a trailer. As the event concluded Read prepared a synopsis that was shared with the Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology.

While all three of these responses were all relatively straight forward and did not involve any deployment of IOSA equipment, both DOE and Coast Guard were tremendously appreciative of IOSA being in the islands to help with information gathering and coordination. These responses are a sample of typical situations where we provide support based on local knowledge and familiarity with island resources.

I’m really excited about the direction IOSA is headed and the work that’s happening to continue to improve our capabilities. As always, the single most important resource IOSA can offer is the knowledge and support of you- our volunteers. I want to thank everyone that has supported IOSA during the past years by attending classes, offering your time and energy, and helping me get settled into this new role. As always, if you have questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to contact me.

- Paul Hamdorf - IOSA's Interim Executive Director

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