Nature Matters: USCGC Alder Protects Great Lakes From Oil Spills

By KBJR News 1

January 19, 2013 Updated Jan 19, 2013 at 6:16 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
"I like working outdoors in the environment and helping people." said BM1 James Guiffre several years ago.
Just over a decade ago, James Guiffre was a boatswain's mate working outdoors in the chilly environment of the Coast Guard Cutter Sundew.
On Monday, the now retired Coasty stepped foot on the deck of the Cutter Alder; this time as a teacher from Saint Rose School in Proctor.
He was there to tell the kids about the role of the cutter from aiding commerce to protecting the environment.
"It is a very critical mission of the Coast Guard to protect the environment and to respond to any disaster such as an oil spill." said Guiffre.
On Lake Superior, the Alder is the first line of defense should spilled oil threaten the lake's clean water and pristine beauty.
"We can deploy our SORS gear, our spilled oil recovery system." said LCDR Tony Maffia, Captain of the Alder.
The SORS gear is stored in the forward hold and the crew of the Alder trains with it at least once a year.
"We can deploy hydraulically actuated skimmers which floats inside a containment boom. We can deploy it off either side of the ship and use that to skim any oil off the surface of the water."
During 2010, Coast Guard oil skimmers deployed to the Gulf of Mexico for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
It is estimated that SORS systems cleaned up 3 percent of the nearly five million barrels of spilled oil.
Other methods took care of the rest.
The Alder's skipper is proud of the role his branch of service takes in protecting the environment.
"That's why I joined the Coast Guard, to give back to the nation and community." said Maffia.
The kids from Saint Rose School were glad to hear the Alder has never needed to use its oil skimming gear; a sign that we take care of our lake.
In Duluth for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.
KDLH 3.
The Coast Guard reminds those who love the Northland's waters to report all oil spills to the authorities, no matter how small.

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