>Coast Guard cutter trains for pollution response


The crew of the 175-foot Coast Guard buoy tender James Rankin, a Baltimore-based cutter, deployed the Coast Guard’s vessel of opportunity skimming system Wednesday in the Chesapeake Bay to test their equipment and prepare for a pollution response.
The VOSS is a combination of booms and pumps that are deployable from most working vessels more than 65 feet. There are 22 of these clean-up systems located at sites around the nation to ensure a rapid first response to an oil or chemical spill.
Each VOSS consists of two of the following: outrigger assembly with lifting davit, sweep boom to collect the oil, DESMI 250 floating weir skimmer with diesel-driven hydraulic prime mover and control stand/air compressor to recover the oil, submersible 6″ off-loading pump and portable inflatable barge (26,000 gallons) to store the oil.
Coast Guard crews in the mid-Atlantic region deploy the VOSS on an average of three times a year to ensure they are familiar with the equipment and the operation of the VOSS in the event of an actual spill.