Air Cushioned Vehicles: Efficient Alternative Transportation for Spill Response
MAC W. McCARTHY, John McGrath
During the first 72 hours of a spill, the focus is on stabilization of the casualty and on open water recovery. As the oil moves into shallow water, technology often gives way to labor and the ensuing battle is won or lost on an efficient means of transporting a vast network of responders and their equipment. From an operations perspective, transportation alternatives can be evaluated, most simplistically, by two standards: speed and cargo capacity. How fast can resources be delivered to the site? What is the payload of the vehicle delivering the resources? As the life of the incident grows and more resources are committed to the project, the issues of delivery speed and delivery volume become more critical. The traditional means of transporting a response organization by land, air, or water always seem to leave a gap in efficiency, particularly when mounting a shoreline cleanup campaign. This paper seeks to build enthusiasm within the response community for viewing the air-cushioned vehicle (ACV) as the amphibious alternative in marine spill response transportation. Theory, case histories, and personal experience are used to develop support for planning ACVs into future response roles.