The Bouchard No. 65 Oil Spill in the Ice-Covered Water of Buzzards Bay
- Paul C. Deslauriers (Marine Consultants)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1979
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,092 - 1,100
- 1979. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements
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This paper describes the Buzzards Bay spill off the Massachusetts coast. The spill occurred in broken ice conditions. Tidal currents transported most of the oil into the broken ice field and beneath large ice floes. Cleanup was made more difficult by a heavy snowfall 7 days after the spill.
On Jan. 28, 1977, the barge Bouchard No. 65 grounded, releasing about 81,150 gal (307 m ) No. 2 home heating oil into Buzzards Bay, MA, which was 90% ice covered. Field measurements and observations began at the spill site on Jan. 29 and continued until Feb. 25, when only negligible amounts of oil remained in the bay. This paper presents these data and puts the results in perspective presents these data and puts the results in perspective with the present state of the art. Most current data on oil pollution in ice-covered waters have been obtained from spills under uniform ice conditions. The Buzzards Bay spill, which occurred in broken ice, merited special attention. Of particular interest was the initial transporting of the particular interest was the initial transporting of the oil under the ice, its concentration in the rafted ice, the interaction of the oil with the hummocks and pressure ridges, its spreading from concentrated pressure ridges, its spreading from concentrated pools on the surface of ice floes, its penetration of pools on the surface of ice floes, its penetration of the snow and ice, the weathering of the oil, its final transporting by ice floes during breakup, and the cleanup techniques used.
With growing interest in petroleum reserves located in cold regions, the application of the Buzzards Bay experience to other geographical areas could be useful. However, some limitations must be considered when applying this experience to other cold regions, such as coastal Alaskan waters. By continuing to respond with study teams to "spills of opportunity" in cold regions, knowledge of the behavior of oil spilled in these regions can be improved substantially, and our ability to prepare effective countermeasures properly will be enhanced greatly.
Buzzards Bay, located on the Massachusetts coast (Fig. 1) is a shallow, nonestuarine bay, about 46 km long and 19 km wide, with an average depth of 11 m. Connecting Buzzards Bay with Cape Cod Bay to the north is the man-made Cape Cod Canal (Fig. 2). Winter 1977 was unusually severe for most of the northeastern U.S., with unusual icing conditions reported for many parts of the New England coast from December through February. Buzzards Bay, which normally does not ice over, was 90% ice covered by Jan. 28. The ice that formed was less saline than normal sea ice, primarily because the ice had gone through four periods of above-freezing temperatures and rain, periods of above-freezing temperatures and rain, which lowered its salt content. This low-saline ice was not as porous nor as elastic as normal first-year sea ice. Several types of sea-ice formations were found in Buzzards Bay. Shorefast ice, with a characteristic thickness of 0.3 m, covered the waters of the protected coves. protected coves. JPT
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