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Aerial Oil Tracking

The specific regulation regarding aerial oil tracking and training observation personnel can be found in 33 CFR 155.1050(I)(1-2) as follows:


(I) The owner or operator of a vessel carrying groups I through IV petroleum oil as a primary cargo must identify in the response plan, and ensure their availability through contract or other approved means, response resources necessary to provide aerial oil tracking to support oil spill assessment and cleanup activities.  Vessels operating on inland rivers are not required to comply with this paragraph.


(1) Aerial oil tracking resources must be capable of arriving at the site of a discharge in advance of the arrival of response resources identified in the plan for tiers 1, 2, and 3 Worst Case Discharge response times, and for a distance up to 50 nautical miles from shore (excluding inland rivers).


(2) Aerial oil tracking resources must include the following:


(i) Appropriately located aircraft and personnel capable of meeting the response time requirement for oil tracking in §155.1050 (I)(1) of this section;


(ii) Sufficient numbers of aircraft, pilots, and trained observation personnel to support oil spill operations, commencing upon initial assessment, and capable of coordinating on-scene cleanup operations, including dispersant, in-situ burning, and mechanical recovery operations;


(iii) Observation personnel must be trained in the protocols of oil spill reporting and assessment, including estimation of slick size, thickness, and quantity.  Observation personnel must be trained in the use of assessment techniques in ASTM F1779-08 (incorporated by reference, see §155.140), and familiar with the use of pertinent guides, including, but not limited to NOAA's "Open Water Oil Identification Job Aid for Aerial Observation" and the "Characteristic Coastal Habitats" guide; and


(iv) The capability of supporting oil spill removal operations continuously for three 10-hour operational periods during the initial 72 hours of the discharge.

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