American Salvage Assoc

THE AMERICAN SALVAGE ASSOCIATION morning, when the ship’s on fire. You want to build those relationships well in advance, so you build that level of trust.Our organizations do have those capabilities; we knowwhat we’re doing; we’re professionals, and it gives that level of trust to the responders, the Coast Guard, the Navy, and others,when we work side by side with them on a fire or a sinking.” Elliott reports that the ASA stays in touch with its members in several ways: “We have an annual meeting, and then we have pe- riodic executive committee meetings throughout the year; we have periodic national salvage conferences; we have a magazine called Soundings; and we communicate with newsletters, regularly, through the internet. It’s constant commu- nication. In addition to those internal meet- ings, we have what we call ‘quality partner- ship’ meetings on a biannual basis with the Coast Guard, NOAA, the Supervisor of Salvage, and others, so that we can continue to set our issues in front of the regulators. On a weekly basis, we conduct a conference call with the Coast Guard - with the new set of regulations, continuous questions and issues arise and we keep the lines of communication with the Coast Guard, open.” Recently, the ASA completed a joint proj- ect with NOAA– a study on sunken wrecks around the United States, titled Remedia- tion of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats. “The report discusses all of the ex- isting wrecks around the U.S. and the poten- tial for remaining oil to cause an issue with the environment. It identified those potential projects for the salvage industry, and also the potential threats for the nation.ASAmembers have responded to several of those wrecks over the years, and we continue to do so.” The Association also recently expanded its membership beyond the U.S. to include organiza- tions in all of North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, and it is currently working with the Organization of American States (OAS) to initiate a similar study of wrecks in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. “And there have been discussions to do a similar project on risk assessment in Canadian waters, because there are some existing wrecks there that continue to cause environmental issues,” Elliott adds. Cleaning up oil spills has become an increas- ingly important activity for the salvage sector. “Because once a ship loses oil, the ability to recover that oil on the water surface is very dif- ficult,” Elliott avers. “The U.S. National Research Council did a study and they determined that even with all the existing technology in oil spill response, only about 10 to 25 percent of the oil can be recovered once it’s released. So, our philosophy is that the sooner we get onboard and prevent the oil from being discharged from the ship, the better we can win the battle of protecting the environment.” Going forward, Elliott sees the ASA serving as a voice of experience and professionalism in the maritime industry as it continues to evolve. “Container ships and other vessels continue to increase in size and there is also an on-going transition from traditional oil cargo and fuels to liquefied natural gas and other liquefied car- goes; these are just a few of the issues that are challenging the industry,” he offers. “The Amer- ican Salvage Association will continue to help facilitate effective response operations through- out the world. So, there’s a lot of work to do. But we have a passion for the type of work we do; it’s a pretty exciting job.”