Marine incident response: What we do in an oil spill (2014)
By Robert KertonFebruary 1st, 2014
We provide science-based advice and technology for mitigating, managing and monitoring oil spills.
[CSIRO logo appears on screen with text: Marine incident response – What we do in an oil spill]
[Pictures of group of CSIRO researchers on pier]
[Image changes to show Dr Kenneth Lee, Director Wealth from Oceans Flagship]
Dr Kenneth Lee: What we’re doing today is actually going out and looking at a spill response operation and what we would do in case there was an oil spill and testing our response capability.
[Image shows scientists boarding a boat and checking equipment]
And so this is really a practice session to make sure we do the right things should a spill occur.
[Image changes to show Dr Andrew Ross, Geoscientist]
Dr Andrew Ross: We’re going to be deploying a CTD system with a particle sizer on board and we’re also going to be deploying a gravity corer as well.
[Text appears: CTD: Conductivity, Temperature and Depth sensor]
[Image shows a boat cruising through the water then changes to show scientists standing on the back of the boat looking out to sea. Image then shows people cleaning up an oil spill on a beach]
Dr Kenneth Lee: Well one of the things that we do in science is, and especially in oil spills is try to understand what happens to oil when its spilled in the environment naturally and what happens if we’re using various technologies to clean up oil spills because none of them are effective 100 percent.
[Image changes back to a boat cruising through the water]
At the same time we have to have a basic understanding of the marine environment on what’s going out there now before we have any pollution events so in a case of a pollution event when we do do oil spill clean-up and look at recovery when do we know the environment has recovered. So it’s a large spectrum of work that we do, it covers all aspects of oceanography.
[Image shows scientists checking equipment and working on laptops on the boat]
Dr Andrew Ross: The kind of expertise we’ve got on board is a whole lot of geochemists, we’ve got a GIS specialist, Geographical Information Specialist. We’ve also got geologists and marine geologists on board.
[Image changes back to Dr Andrew Ross]
So it’s all different, a whole set of skills that we bring together to be able to do this kind of work, it’s not just marine scientists. And that’s one of the great things that we have at CSIRO is this ability to build multidisciplinary teams and then deploy them in events such as oil spills.
[Image changes to show Charlotte Stalvies, Geoscientist. Image then shows a gravity corer being deployed from the back of a boat]
Charlotte Stalvies: Today we deployed our gravity corer which is a corer which employs 100 kilo weight on the top and you hang the corer over the back of the vessel and the weights on the top literarily make the corer travel at speeds through the water column and then the mass just pushes that corer straight into the sediment.
[Image shows a CTD being hoisted into the sea from the back of the boat]
We also deployed our CTD which as you go down through the water it will just literally log your conductivity, temperature and depth. And attached to that we also used a LISST and that is measuring particle size. So for our purposes what we would want to use that for would be when you have oil seepage [Image changes back to Charlotte]
or maybe in an instant response we’re looking for oil droplets through the water column and then you can see if you’ve got underwater plumes of oil and that kind of thing.
[Image shows scientists working on equipment on the back of the boat]
Dr Kenneth Lee: One of the big projects we have now is in the Great Australian Bight where we’re trying to understand what the environment is like out there prior to any oil spill events so therefore should a spill occur we know what to monitor, we know where the valuable ecosystem components are, where we should focus for oil spill response to protect the environment.
[Pictures of the ocean and underwater shots of a reef. Image then changes back to Dr Kenneth]
Well the ocean means a lot to me because I grew up around the ocean and of course if you look at it our future for the world is really looking at the ocean because that’s where our resources will be in the future.
[CSIRO logo appears with text: Big ideas start here]