BP Contributes 30-Foot Rapid-Response Vehicle

| Published: October 02, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A state-of-the-art skimmer vessel that can be used for purposes ranging from training qualified responders to assisting with the cleanup of mid-size oil spills is the showpiece of a more than $280,000 beneficial contribution from BP to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

BP representatives were on hand today (Tuesday, Oct. 2) when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi opened the new Kvichak 30-foot Harbor Class Rapid Response Vehicle for public viewing at the Corpus Christi Marina. BP, one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies, had commissioned the boat for clean-up operations following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Through the efforts of our National Spill Control School, we’ve been providing training and research in oil spill response, HazMat, and emergency management for a variety of industries,” said University President Flavius Killebrew. “Today’s contribution by BP enhances our efforts to ensure that entire industries are prepared for emergencies that can affect the safety of communities across the country.”

The Kvichak (pronounced Kweejack) is considered the most effective oil skimming vessel available, with more than 70 in service on every continent except Antarctica.  The vessel, which is equipped with two 70 hp Yamaha motors, can respond at a speed of more than 17 knots.  Once on the site of a spill, it can remove up to 427 barrels of oil per hour and can store up to 1,000 gallons of recovered oil or transfer it to another vessel for recovery at a rate of 250 gallons per minute.

 “We at BP are excited to have the opportunity to support continuing education with state-of-the-art oil spill response equipment,” said Sandy Christian, BP GCRO Management Team lead.

BP’s contribution included two additional skimmer systems, various pumps, computers for modeling spills, marine radios, about 4,000 feet of oil spill containment boom, a portable tank, and other safety and spill response equipment. The University’s National Spill Control School (NSCS) expects to ultimately become an approved training facility for the Kvichak Harbor Class skimmers. 

“This equipment makes our oil spill training programs much more relevant and realistic,” said NSCS Director Tony Wood.

Each semester, students in the Oil Spill Prevention and Response class at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conduct an oil spill response booming to protect the Columbus Ship “Nina.” According to Wood, BP has provided the NSCS with enough boom to encircle the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier during our spill response training drills, something the NSCS already has permission to do.

Established in 1977, each year the NSCS provides specialized hands-on OSHA mandated training for 500 to 1,000 people in the oil spill, HAZMAT, and emergency management industries as well as others in exploration, production, and transportation who deal with spill prevention, planning, and response.