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The California Coast, including the sea and its shore, is a playground, a workplace, a treasure to be preserved and protected. California is also the largest consumer of petroleum in the United States, more than half of which is imported from other countries or states. 


In 1970, companies operating in the Santa Barbara Channel joined together to fund and operate a not-for-profit cooperative called Clean Seas. Clean Seas LLC a California Limited Liability Company, exists for that purpose. Clean Seas' designated area of response comprises the open oceans and coastline of the South Central Coast of California including Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties, and the Channel Islands. 

The purpose of Clean Seas is to act as a resource to its member companies by providing an inventory of state-of-the-art oil spill response equipment, trained personnel, and expertise in the planning and execution of response techniques. The Clean Seas response concept is similar to that of a fire department in that trained personnel and equipment are on standby, ready to respond to a spill 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Oil Spill Response Vessels 

OCEAN SCOUT & OCEAN GUARDIAN are two of the oil spill response vessels (OSRV) specifically designed for rapid response, open ocean recovery. 

  Since its formation, Clean Seas has evolved into a well-equipped and highly innovative organization capable of rapidly and effectively combating an oil spill incident. Specially designed oil spill response vessels are the backbone of Clean Seas' off- shore capability. OCEAN SCOUT, OCEAN GUARDIAN, OCEAN DEFENDER, & OCEAN SENTINEL are complete spill response systems. Each is equipped with approximately 1,500 feet of boom, advancing oil recovery systems, storage tanks for recovered oil, Forward Looking Infrared Radar(FLIR) and advanced electronic equipment for directing and monitoring oil spill response activities. 

With maximum cruising speeds of 26 knots, large fuel capacity, sleeping quarters, and galley accommodations, they can reach any spill site quickly and remain on scene for an extended period of time. For truly rapid response and logistics, the fast response support boats AJAX and COMET add an important dimension. These 32-foot aluminum boats are capable of delivering personnel, boom, sorbents and equipment to a spill site at speeds up to 30 knots.  The CLEAN SWEEP, a 32-foot spill response vessel, combines the capabilities of the COMET and AJAX with a built-in Lori brush skimmer and 28 bbls gallons of oil storage. 

The vessels also carry a stationary skimmer system to recover oil contained within booms or in areas where the advancing skimmer cannot be used. 


Clean Seas has equipment and techniques specifically designed for three areas of potential activity: the open ocean, protected waters, and ecologically sensitive areas. Each has its special needs and requirements. 

In addition to the vessels, the Clean Seas equipment support yard in Carpinteria maintains a large inventory of specialized response equipment. This may be used independently or as a means of supplementing the supply of equipment on each vessel. 

Environmentally sensitive areas such as Carpinteria Slough are given special attention during training exercises. 

Marine biologists surveyed Clean Seas' entire area of response to identify ecologically significant coastal sites that warranted special protective measures. Site protection techniques and recovery equipment were specifically developed and stockpiled to serve each of these areas. 

To assure immediate availability of equipment required for the protection of these areas, mobile storage vans are strategically stationed at various access points along the coast. State-of-the-art communications equipment ensures reliable coordination with all responders to an incident. 





The availability of trained personnel able to respond rapidly and effectively in the event of an oil spill incident is extremely important. To meet this challenge, Clean Seas has placed a great deal of emphasis on training. The broad-based training program is designed to ensure that the Clean Seas' staff, member companies, contractors, and government agency personnel are thoroughly familiar with the equipment in the inventory and how to deploy and utilize it during an actual event. 

Regularly scheduled training sessions assist in keeping member companies up to date in their compliance requirements. Additionally, sessions are tailored for an individual company's specific site and equipment. The training program is also used for developing new techniques and evaluating new equipment. 

Since Clean Seas was organized, state and federal rules and regulations applicable to offshore oil and gas activities have become more restrictive and precise. Specific standards have been established for the capability of containment and clean-up equipment, for response time to reach potential spill sites, and for a proven state of readiness and training. Clean Seas stands ready to meet this challenge. 



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Last modified:  November 6 2012