Page 59: of Marine Technology Magazine (March 2012)

Subsea Vehicle Report – Unmanned Underwater Systems

Read this page in Pdf, Flash or Html5 edition of March 2012 Marine Technology Magazine Dr. Kenneth Lee is the Spill StopperMarine Technology Reporter 59An oil spill is much like a snowß ake, in that no two are alike and both are ever-changing. Different water tempera- ture and environmental conditions, differing types of oil and response capability, and the sensitivity of the habitat in the area of concern and its living resources are just a few of the factors that conspire to make each oil spill event unique.While the nature of oil spills may differ, the approach by Dr. Lee Ð a Research Scientist and Executive Director of COOGER, the Center for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research for Fisheries Oceans Canada Ð is unwavering. While he is an expert on the use of chemical dispersants in remediation of oil spills Ð having taken up the study in the early 1980s Ð the central theme to the work of Dr. Lee and his team at COOGER in Halifax is working with Mother Nature to restore the affected area as quickly, and least in- trusively, as possible. ÒWhat we want to do is understand natural recovery, because natural recovery is much stron- ger than people think,Ó said Dr. Lee. ÒThere are natural oil seeps around the world; petroleum hydrocarbons are not new to the environment,Ó Lee said. ÒNatural bacterial populations have adapted to its presence and break it down as a food source. If it wasnÕt for natural biodegradation of oil, weÕd be knee-deep in oil right now.Ó In the case of large, concentrated spill, Dr. Lee said nature simply is not equipped to metabolize the oil fast enough. ÒThe question is this: how can we enhance that rate of natural recovery?Ó While there are dozens of factors that make the treat- ment of oil spills tricky, adding cold, icy waters to the equation quickly escalates the difÞ culty of operation. Lee, who is co-chair an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Working Group to establish Guidelines for the use of dispersants in the treatment of marine oil spills, Þ nds his time increasingly devoted to studying protocol in the handling a major oil spill in cold waters and harsh environ- ments including the Arctic. Dr. Kenneth Lee is a world-renowned authority on the use of chemical dispersants in the clean-up of oil spills. A pivotal player in some of the world?s biggest oil spill clean-up events over the last 30 years, Dr. Lee and his team are dedicated to continually learn about and work in harmony with Mother Nature to help restore affected habitats as quickly and environmentally sound as possible.By Greg Trauthwein, Editor & Associate Publisher MTR2 Canada Supplement 49-64.indd 59MTR2 Canada Supplement 49-64.indd 592/23/2012 10:38:50 AM2/23/2012 10:38:50 AM

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