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Environmental Science Students Get Hands-On Experience at Oil Spill Demo

April 24, 2013

Skimmer Oil Prevention

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Students in Professor David Jensen’s “Oil Spill Prevention and Response Class” learned about oil spill recovery on Friday, April 19, through a skimming exercise aboard the Kvichak Marco oil skimming vessel. Boats and equipment were staged and deployed from the Cooper’s Alley boat ramp in the Corpus Christi Marina.

“The field activities in this course are resume-building exercises, so the students can get a leg up on the others applying for jobs in this field,” said Jensen. ”It’s all about the experience of using the equipment that actual responders utilize in oil spill response.”

This marks  the first time the vessel, donated to the University by BP, was used with a class of students.  Groups of students learned how to maneuver the vessel and operate its skimming system. In addition, students practiced small boat handling, construction of anchor systems, and the deployment of oil spill boom from a trailer with anchor systems and boom towing.

After the hands-on exercise, Professor Jensen discussed skimmers. The Corpus Christi Area Oil Spill Control Association also demonstrated several of their skimming devices and vacuum truck, which are used in local areas for oil spill response.

The Kvichak (pronounced Kweejack), a 30-foot Rapid-Response Vehicle, is considered one of the most effective oil skimming vessel available, with more than 70 in service on every continent except Antarctica.  Once on the site of a spill, it can remove up to 427 barrels of oil per hour.

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