The Coast Guard and the Navy has been doing an oil spill recovery drill for the last few days north of Barrow. The Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore deployed a skimmer system and tested it. Then it deployed a containment boom system developed for the Navy. And on the third day it ran a test of a special skimmer designed to recover oil floating in pockets in the ice. The “Polar Bear” skimmer was earlier tested on the Great Lakes, but this was the fist time the pocket skimmer was tested in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean waters off Alaska.
The hope is that a buoy tender can be used for this. The cutter had to be moored to a barge pulled in from Prudhoe Bay.
The operation included crews from the 17th Coast Guard District Response Advisory Team, Coast Guard Pacific Strike Team, Coast Guard Research and Development Center, Navy Supervisor of Salvage, and U.S. Northern Command.