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Pioneering Safety: The Western Alaska Lightering Best Practices Committee

The Network initiated the Western Alaska Tanker Lightering Best Practices Committee in 2019, working in close partnership with the Alaska Chadux Corporation.

Tank vessel lightering operations serve over 160 communities and villages in Western Alaska with products for essential heating and fueling. Millions of gallons of fuel are transferred from Ship to Barge and Ship to Ship in the offshore marine environment during the ice-free season for delivery to the coastal communities throughout the region. Each delivery is unique in the destination, draught restrictions, fuel type, facility capacity, environmental factors, and seasonality of ice.

Protecting Alaska's marine environment through a comprehensive oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response program is paramount for the mutual benefit of all tanker lightering operators. Developing a process to continually review lightering operations and establish mutually agreed to Best Practices and standards of care will enhance safe, efficient, and environmentally-sound tanker fuel transfer maritime operations in Western Alaska.

The Committee leads the way in fostering a productive exchange of information among tanker owners and operators and other stakeholders to ensure safety at all times. All of the operators have committed to meeting and exceeding rigorous environmental and safety standards, as well as ensuring that Western Alaska communities receive fuel in a safe and timely manner.

The Committee is comprised of:

  • Tank Vessel operators
  • Tank barge operators
  • Alaska Marine Pilots
  • Alaska Chadux Corporation
  • Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Office of Coast Survey
  • Alaska Department of Environment Conservation
  • Ocean Conservancy