Today, Senator Schatz announces heightened federal resources to assist the State of Hawai'i, including the involvement of the Coast Guard's Pacific Strike Team. The Pacific Strike Team is part of the Coast Guard's National Strike Force, which is a national unit comprised of highly-trained, experienced personnel charged with responding quickly to oil and other hazardous spills.
"This spill is being taken very seriously, which is why the Coast Guard has decided to call in the Pacific Strike Team," Schatz said. "This group of highly trained professionals has significant experience in responding to severe spills, and they will put the State of Hawaii in the best position to ensure that Honolulu's marine environment can recover as quickly as possible."
The Coast Guard's National Strike Force provides rapidly deployable technical experts, specialized equipment and incident management capabilities. These resources are made available to federal on-scene coordinators and lead agency incident commanders for their response missions. The Pacific Strike Team is one of the National Strike Force's three strike teams, and is comprised of 42 Active Duty Coast Guard personnel, 25 Reservists, 3 civilians, and 1 Auxiliarist.
Personnel from the Pacific Strike Team, along with experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are expected to go out into Honolulu Harbor with the State DOH this morning to further assess this evolving situation. Initial reports have suggested that the contaminated water may be clearing out. If this proves to be the case, then the State DOH and federal partners will likely to begin to pivot from response to recovery and remediation. All federal agencies are prepared to call for additional resources to assist as the situation develops.
The Pacific Strike Team is the latest in a chain of federal resources and response that Senator Schatz has mobilized to assist the State. NOAA and EPA have both brought in similarly skilled civilian experts that will work side by side with the Coast Guard to assist the State DOH. In addition, Schatz has helped to ensure the State's access to federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) funding for expenses related to this spill.