50 Agencies Involved in Training for Oil Spills

Posted at: 08/28/2013 2:56 PM
Updated at: 08/28/2013 10:27 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

If you were near the Duluth-Superior Harbor Wednesday, you might have noticed a little more action than usual. More than 300 responders from the Coast Guard and other federal, state, and local agencies are doing a training exercise.

The exercise isn't based on any real, credible threat to the harbor, but it's a worst case scenario situation. In the training scenario, a blue research vessel is spilling 40,000 gallons of oil into the harbor just under the Blatnik Bridge.

Operation Peeking Duck may just be a training exercise, but agencies and private contractors are ready to take action above.

Environmental Troubleshooters is a Duluth business. Their mother company is the National Response Corporation. NRC helped clean up the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

"In this case here, we would wrap the whole ship here around with boom to protect any of the oils coming off," said Scott Peterson with Environmental Troubleshooters.

The incident command center for the operation is over in Superior at Barker's Island.

In charge is the U.S. Coast Guard, but it's a team effort with over 50 agencies from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"It gives a chance for all the partners and stakeholders to come together and to communicate and strengthen their partnerships in the event a real incident occurs," said USCG Commanding Officer Alan Moore.

The responders will continue their training exercise Thursday.