Local USCG Members To Assist In Spill Cleanup 6-02-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Local USCG Members To Assist In Spill Cleanup 6-02-2010

Crude oil from the BP spill is getting closer to the Florida coastline, and it’s washing ashore for the first time in Mississippi and Alabama.
Now help is on the way from Mid-Michigan, in the form of U.S. Coast Guard members.
Twenty-two members from the Great Lakes district of the Coast Guard left Wednesday to help with the spill.
“I think nationwide it's important to do all that we can because this is a disaster,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Jerry Backus, with the Coast Guard.
Area Coast Guard Members To Help With Gulf Oil Spill
In total, the Ninth Coast Guard District deployed the four airboats, with a complement of 22 crewmembers, hailing from small boat stations at Belle Isle, Mich., Saginaw River, Mich. and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Coast Guard said that before any deployment of its personnel, it reviews local missions to make sure none are at risk.
While on deployment in the Gulf, the Michigan members will help monitor the oil spill and assist marine scientists.
“We're one of the few coast guard units that have a shallow water air boat,” said Backus. “So [they’re] just sending my boat with a crew with it; we're the only ones trained to use that platform.”
Crew members told WNEM TV5 they aren’t sure exactly where they’ll be stationed, but they know the trip could last as little as a few weeks and up to several months.
The Ninth Coast Guard District encompasses 6,700 miles of American shoreline and over 1,500 miles of an international border with Canada.
About 6,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian members assigned to the Coast Guard serve the district.
During an average year, the Ninth District saves $12,880,600 in property and responds to 439 marine casualty and pollution cases.
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