The Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment was conducted from 2010-2015. The project consisted of Phase A and Phase B, resulting in the following:
1. Recommended spill prevention and response system for the Aleutian Islands.
The Analysis Team developed a recommended Optimal Response System for the Aleutian Islands including emergency towing, salvage, and oil spill response. This recommendation is summarized in a Summary Report, and based on 13 supporting technical reports and the Advisory Panel's guidance at the conclusion of Phase A and through a series of meetings in Phase B.
2. Submittal of proposed recommended areas to be avoided (ATBA) to the International Maritime Organization.
In December 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard submitted a paper entitled, "Establishment of Five Areas to be Avoided in the Region of the Aleutian Islands" to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the consideration of the Subcommittee on Navigation, Communication, and Search & Rescue (NCSR) at their March 2015 meeting. The proposal would establish five recommendatory ATBA in the region of the Alaska Aleutian Islands for vessels making transoceanic voyages through the area. Most of the proposed ATBAs extend to 50 nautical miles from the shoreline of the islands, which is intended to reduce the potential for drift groundlings resulting from loss of power or other mechanical failure, or negligent navigation.
The recommendation was developed by a workgroup and reviewed by an Advisory Panel in Phase B of the AIRA.
3. Update of the Subarea Contingency Plan.
Following on the Advisory Panel's recommendation at the conclusion of Phase A, existing Geographic Response Strategies and Potential Places of Refuge for the Aleutian Islands area were updated during Phase B in conjunction with a broader review and update of the Aleutian Subarea Contingency Plan (SCP). This plan supplements the Alaska Federal/State Preparedness Plan for Response to Oil and Hazardous Substance Discharges/Releases (the Unified Plan) and is overseen by a joint federal/state committee.
For more information, please see the ADEC webpages:
Routing Measures for the Aleutian Islands Adopted by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee
UPDATE: On Friday, June 12, 2015, the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO adopted the Five Areas to Be Avoided (ATBA) in the Aleutian Islands. The ATBA will go into effect on January 1, 2016 (six months after adoption as per IMO process). The original proposal was developed as part of the AIRA, and approved by the Navigation Communication Search and Rescue Subcommittee of IMO on March 13, 2015.
These five recommendary ATBA apply to vessels making transoceanic voyages through the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean. The ATBA total approximatley 160,000 square miles and extend no further than 50 nautical miles from the shoreline of the islands, with a few areas of greater distance. The 50 nautical mile buffer allows for repair or time to launch an emergency response effort to a foundering vessel before it runs aground and damages sensitive resources. It will also reduce the possibility of ships grounding on the shoreline due to negligent navigation.
Final Report on Recommended Optimal Response System Available
Following receipt of public comments and input from the Technical Peer Review Panel, the Summary Report describing a recommended response system for the Aleutian Islands areas is final and available in both LOW RESOLUTION and HIGH RESOLUTION versions. This report is based on other project reports from both Phase A and Phase B of the AIRA which are available on the Documents page.
AIRA Final Summary Report - high resolution (20.5MB)
AIRA Final Summary Report - low resolution (5MB)