(a) The NSF is a special team established by the USCG, including the three USCG Strike Teams, the Public Information Assist Team (PIAT), and the NSFCC. The NSF is available to assist OSCs/RPMs in their preparedness and response duties.
(1) The three Strike Teams (Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific) provide trained personnel and specialized equipment to assist the OSC in training for spill response, stabilizing and containing the spill, and in monitoring or directing the response actions of the responsible parties and/or contractors. The OSC has a specific team designated for initial contact and may contact that team directly for any assistance.
(2) The NSFCC can provide the following support to the OSC:
(i) Technical assistance, equipment and other resources to augment the OSC staff during spill response.
(ii) Assistance in coordinating the use of private and public resources in support of the OSC during a response to or a threat of a worst case discharge of oil.
(iii) Review of the area contingency plan, including an evaluation of equipment readiness and coordination among responsible public agencies and private organizations.
(iv) Assistance in locating spill response resources for both response and planning, using the NSFCC's national and international computerized inventory of spill response resources.
(v) Coordination and evaluation of pollution response exercises.
(vi) Inspection of district prepositioned pollution response equipment.
(3) PIAT is an element of the NSFCC staff which is available to assist OSCs to meet the demands for public information during a response or exercise. Its use is encouraged any time the OSC requires outside public affairs support. Requests for PIAT assistance may be made through the NSFCC or NRC.
(1) The Environmental Response Team (ERT) is established by EPA in accordance with its disaster and emergency responsibilities. The ERT has expertise in treatment technology, biology, chemistry, hydrology, geology, and engineering.
(2) The ERT can provide access to special decontamination equipment for chemical releases and advice to the OSC/RPM in hazard evaluation; risk assessment; multimedia sampling and analysis program; on-site safety, including development and implementation plans; cleanup techniques and priorities; water supply decontamination and protection; application of dispersants; environmental assessment; degree of cleanup required; and disposal of contaminated material.
(3) The ERT also provides both introductory and intermediate level training courses to prepare response personnel.
(4) OSC/RPM or RRT requests for ERT support should be made to the EPA representative on the RRT; EPA Headquarters, Director, Emergency Response Division; or the appropriate EPA regional emergency coordinator.
(c) Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs) may be designated by the OSC (and RPM in the case of EPA SSCs) as the principal advisors for scientific issues, communication with the scientific community, and coordination of requests for assistance from state and federal agencies regarding scientific studies. The SSC strives for a consensus on scientific issues affecting the response, but ensures that differing opinions within the community are communicated to the OSC/RPM.
(1) Generally, SSCs are provided by NOAA in the coastal zones, and by EPA in the inland zone. OSC/RPM requests for SSC support can be made directly to the SSC assigned to the area or to the agency member of the RRT. NOAA SSCs can also be requested through NOAA's SSC program office in Seattle, WA. NOAA SSCs are assigned to USCG Districts and are supported by a scientific support team that includes expertise in environmental chemistry, oil slick tracking, pollutant transport modeling, natural resources at risk, environmental tradeoffs of countermeasures and cleanup, and information management.
(2) During a response, the SSC serves on the federal OSC's/RPM's staff and may, at the request of the OSC/RPM, lead the scientific team and be responsible for providing scientific support for operational decisions and for coordinating on-scene scientific activity. Depending on the nature and location of the incident, the SSC integrates expertise from governmental agencies, universities, community representatives, and industry to assist the OSC/RPM in evaluating the hazards and potential effects of releases and in developing response strategies.
(3) At the request of the OSC, the SSC may facilitate the OSC's work with the lead administrative trustee for natural resources to ensure coordination between damage assessment data collection efforts and data collected in support of response operations.
(4) SSCs support the Regional Response Teams and the Area Committees in preparing regional and area contingency plans and in conducting spill training and exercises. For area plans, the SSC provides leadership for the synthesis and integration of environmental information required for spill response decisions in support of the OSC.
(1) SUPSALV has an extensive salvage/search and recovery equipment inventory with the requisite knowledge and expertise to support these operations, including specialized salvage, firefighting, and petroleum, oil and lubricants offloading capability.
(2) When possible, SUPSALV will provide equipment for training exercises in support of national and regional contingency planning objectives.
(3) The OSC/RPM may request assistance directly from SUPSALV. Formal requests are routed through the Chief of Naval Operations (N312).
(e) For marine salvage operations, OSCs/RPMs with responsibility for monitoring, evaluating, or supervising these activities should request technical assistance from DOD, the Strike Teams, or commercial salvors as necessary to ensure that proper actions are taken. Marine salvage operations generally fall into five categories: afloat salvage; offshore salvage; river and harbor clearance; cargo salvage; and rescue towing. Each category requires different knowledge and specialized types of equipment. The complexity of such operations may be further compounded by local environmental and geographic conditions. The nature of marine salvage and the conditions under which it occurs combine to make such operations imprecise, difficult, hazardous, and expensive. Thus, responsible parties or other persons attempting to perform such operations without adequate knowledge, equipment, and experience could aggravate, rather than relieve, the situation.
(f) Radiological Emergency Response Teams (RERTs) have been established by EPA's Office of Radiation Programs (ORP) to provide response and support for incidents or sites containing radiological hazards. Expertise is available in radiation monitoring, radionuclide analysis, radiation health physics, and risk assessment. RERTs can provide on-site support including mobile monitoring laboratories for field analyses of samples and fixed laboratories for radiochemical sampling and analyses. Requests for support may be made 24 hours a day via the NRC or directly to the EPA Radiological Response Coordinator in the Office of Radiation Programs. Assistance is also available from DOE and other federal agencies.
(1) DRGs assist the OSC by providing technical assistance, personnel, and equipment, including pre-positioned equipment. Each DRG consists of all Coast Guard personnel and equipment, including marine firefighting equipment, in its district, additional pre-positioned equipment, and a District Response Advisory Team (DRAT) that is available to provide support to the OSC in the event that a spill exceeds local response capabilities. Each DRG:
(i) Shall provide technical assistance, equipment, and other resources, as available, when requested by an OSC through the USCG representative to the RRT;
(ii) Shall ensure maintenance of all USCG response equipment within its district;
(iii) May provide technical assistance in the preparation of the ACP; and
(iv) Shall review each of those plans that affect its area of geographic responsibility.
(2) In deciding where to locate personnel and pre-positioned equipment, the USCG shall give priority emphasis to:
(i) The availability of facilities for loading and unloading heavy or bulky equipment by barge;
(ii) The proximity to an airport capable of supporting large military transport aircraft;
(iii) The flight time to provide response to oil spills in all areas of the Coast Guard district with the potential for marine casualties;
(iv) The availability of trained local personnel capable of responding in an oil spill emergency; and
(v) Areas where large quantities of petroleum products are transported.
(h) The NPFC is responsible for implementing those portions of Title I of the OPA that have been delegated to the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating. The NPFC is responsible for addressing funding issues arising from discharges and threats of discharges of oil. The NPFC:
(1) Issues Certificates of Financial Responsibility to owners and operators of vessels to pay for costs and damages that are incurred by their vessels as a result of oil discharges;
(2) Provides funding for various response organizations for timely abatement and removal actions related to oil discharges;
(3) Provides equitable compensation to claimants who sustain costs and damages from oil discharges when the responsible party fails to do so;
(4) Recovers monies from persons liable for costs and damages resulting from oil discharges to the full extent of liability under the law; and
(5) Provides funds to initiate natural resource damage assessments.