The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Climate Prediction Center has forecast a hurricane season more active than normal, but the International Liquid Terminal Association (ILTA) says that its members are prepared.
ILTA represents more than 85 companies in all 50 states of the US and in 40 countries around the world, storing crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, renewable fuels, fertiliser, vegetable oils and other food-grade materials, as well as 400 equipment and services suppliers. ILTA members have been carrying out drills and training, developing their emergency preparedness plans, and are keeping in close contact with government, emergency response and industry partners.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November, and this year, the NOAA predicted a 60% likelihood of more active season. It says there may be 13-19 named storms, with winds of 39 mph (63 kph) or more, of which six to ten could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph (119 kph) or more, and three to six major hurricanes, with winds of 111 mph (179 kph) or more.
‘The industry takes hurricanes very seriously. Our priorities are protecting our workers, the environment, and our neighbours in our communities. At the same time, we work to ensure the best possible operations even when hurricanes disrupt other components of the supply chains,’ says ILTA President Kathryn Clay.
Industry practice is to prepare for a storm in stages at 96 hours, 72 hours and 48 hours before a storm to ensure terminals are safe and secure. ILTA members work with federal, state and local first responders as well as government officials to ensure safety before a storm and get terminals up and running normally afterwards. Members have post-storm checklists to assess any damage, which is reported to local, state and federal authorities before operations are resumed, or service alternatives are found.
Clay says: ‘Many terminals are located along ocean waterways, both in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast, where hurricanes are prevalent. Our members also work with our maritime partners to not only to secure marine terminal operations, but to ensure the safety of maritime workers.’