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We have provided training to industry and government agencies for over three decades, specifically in:

  • Environmental management,
  • Oil spill impacts,
  • SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique),
  • The Incident Command System (ICS), and
  • Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and databases.

We also prepare spill response exercises varying from desk-top to multi-day exercises with full equipment deployment. Exercises have been overseen by the US Coast Guard and representatives from international agencies and companies.

Presentations and courses range from a few hours to five or more days, with a field program and exercises. For many years, Dr. Gundlach participated in the profession level, bi-monthly spill management program run by Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Recently, a three-day oil spill management course was developed to meet IMO guidelines.

Among others, participants have included:

  • Numerous USA oil / gas / energy companies
  • National Gas Institute (Argentina)
  • BTC Pipeline (Turkey, Azerbaijan)
  • US and Canadian Coast Guards
  • IBAMA Brasil); Russian scientists (European Bank [EBRD] training)
  • International Coast Guards / Navies
  • Nigerian oil companies, Trinidad, Nicaragua and many others
  • IMO, IBRD, UNEP, BID, World Bank Group

Outlines for the principal courses offered are presented below.

Class photos from several previous courses – here.


Course Description

The course covers a broad range of issues associated with oil spill management, including all topics within International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) course Levels 2 and 3 (On Scene Commanders, Oil Spill Management) and UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency Levels 4 and 5 (Oil Spill Response Manager and Incident Manager). 

Topics Include

  • Causes and fate of spilled oil
  • Environmental impacts and issues
  • Contingency planning
  • Spill monitoring, surveillance and modelling
  • Shoreline assessments and cleanup
  • Dispersant use
  • Controlled burning
  • Bioremediation
  • Response equipment and limitations
  • Waste management
  • Working with the media
  • International cooperation
  • Liability and compensation
  • Health and safety
  • Terminating the response
  • Spill management using the Incident Command System
  • Post-response operations
  • Case histories include examples from Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
  • Exercises: Establishing response priorities and equipment requirements.
  • Special Case Examples: Environmental risk, sensitivity mapping, and response planning for a major international pipeline.

Learning Objectives

The overall objective is to provide the individual with a broad understanding of oil spills, spill response methods, and effective spill management techniques.

Who Should Attend

This course is particularly designed for managers, supervisors and other individuals involved with spill response supervision and management. Participants commonly come from the oil transport, development and production, government, the mining and energy sectors as well as other companies involved in the transport or storage of petroleum.  Those involved with pipelines and marine operations are particularly encouraged to attend.


This course is delivered as a 3-day program using overheads, videos, handouts, spill-response case histories, and classroom exercises. Any component of the course can be given to fit time constraints.

Schedule (See further below)


Course Focus and Design

This program, using a combination of power point, overheads, videos, actual spill cases, and simulation exercises, is designed to take the participant through Introductory (level 100), Basic (level 200), and Intermediate (level 300) ICS training, and provide Advanced (level 400) training in Unified Command. 

The ICS version used in this program is the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS); it was adopted by the US Coast Guard, the State of California, and industry participating in the STORMS Task Force.  Much of the redundancy that exists in the NIIMS course material has been eliminated permitting this course to be presented in a 2-day period.

The first level (I-100) is a general introduction to ICS designed for those who may be assigned to a response but have minimal requirements for knowing ICS.  It provides a general overview of ICS.  The second level (I-200) introduces the principals of ICS in greater detail, and includes organization, facilities, resource terminology, and assigned responsibilities.  This program level is designed for those that can reasonably be expected to actively participate in the response effort, both supervisory and technical personnel, and who will need to know the basics of ICS to adequately perform their response task.

The next level, designated as I-300 Intermediate ICS, includes several more advanced organization, resource management, and planning modules.  Among the standard ICS 300 series, only air operations is not included here.  We also discuss the steps in organizing the response as the incident develops.  Designated personnel filling the response leadership roles, including Command and General Staff and Unit Leaders, would especially take this series.  

The last level, I-400 Advanced ICS, covers the development of large-scale response organizations, the role of Command and General Staff in such organizations, and planning, logistical, operational, and financial considerations.   At this level, the material covering Unified Command will be given as it provides the structural basis for all government/industry response operations and greatly assists response managers in preparing for major events.

Additional training outside of this program is available for each ICS position, e.g. Resource Unit Leader, Situation Unit Leader, and for specific positions within the Command and General Staff.

The following ICS levels and topics are covered.

ICS Level

NIIMS Module / Topics Covered

Level 100 - ICS Introduction

ICS Orientation.
History of ICS.
Active versus Proactive Response.
Who Uses ICS.

Level 200 - Basic ICS

Module 2: Principles and Features of ICS.
Module 3: Organizational Overview.
Module 4: Incident Facilities
Module 5: Incident Resources.
Module 6: Common Responsibilities

Level 300 - Intermediate ICS

Module 7: Organization and Staffing.
Module 8: Organizing for Incidents or Events.
Module 9: Incident Resources Management.
Module 11: Incident and Event Planning.

Level 400 - Advanced ICS

Module 12: Command and General Staff.
Module 13: Unified Command.


Develop a Command Organization and Incident Action Plan in response to a facility emergency. Present, discuss and approve the IAP using the Planning Meeting format.

Schedule and Duration

This program is usually given over a two-three day period of intensive training. In addition, a 1 day refresher program has also been popular to bring staff up-to-date on ICS and their roles and responsibilities. SEE FURTHER BELOW.

Oil Spill Response Management Program Schedule

Part A : Oil Spills - Introduction

  1. Petroleum components and properties
  2. Sources and historical trends
  3. Spilled oil  transport (aquatic and on land)
  4. Fate of spilled oil (spreading, evaporation, advection, evaporation, emulsification, photo-oxidation, and biodegradation.

Part B : Tracking Spilled Oil

  1. Oil spill transport and fate modelling
  2. Satellite and high-altitude surveillance
  3. Low-altitude aerial surveys.
  4. SCAT shoreline assessment techniques.

Part C : Ecological Effects and Recovery

  1. Physical and chemical effects
  2. Effects on shoreline organisms and recovery times
  3. Effects to Wildlife Groups (birds, fisheries, shellfish, mammals, reptiles)
  4. Wildlife Rescue and Treatment
  5. International Treatment Organizations

Part D : Impacts to Shorelines

  1. Oil impact and persistence on different shoreline types.

Part E : Social-Economic Impacts

  1. Impacts to property and businesses
  2. Perception versus reality

Part F : Spill Response Management

  1. Spill response organization and structure
  2. Using the Incident Command System
  3. Communications
  4. Health and safety
  5. Setting of objectives
  6. Monitoring field operations
  7. Record keeping / reporting
  8. Communication with the public and media

Part G : Standard Spill Response Techniques and Limitations

  1. On-water recovery
  2. Shoreline protection
  3. Shoreline cleanup strategies and guidelines
  4. Shoreline strategies to avoid
  5. Risks versus benefits
  6. When to end a response
  7. Waste management

Part H : Alternative Response Techniques

  1. Dispersants
  2. Controlled burning
  3. Bioremediation
  4. Solidifiers and other chemical agents

Part I : Spill Planning

  1. International guidelines
  2. Determining risk
  3. Tiered responses
  4. Environmental sensitivity mapping
  5. Extent of planning area (marine and pipeline)
  6. International support
  7. Determining equipment requirements
  8. Response exercises (type and schedule)

Part J : Liabilities and Compensation

  1. International compensation programs
  2. Compensable losses
  3. Documentation requirements

Part K : Case Studies

  • Given as independent presentations or incorporated into other topics
  • Amoco Cadiz (France) – impacts  and litigation
  • Deepwater Horizon, Ixtoc I and Alvenus (Gulf of Mexico, USA)
  • Exxon Valdez (Alaska)
  • Prestige and Urquiola (Spain)
  • Metula (Chile)
  • And other spill events from Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria, Puerto Rico and Panama

ICS Program Schedule


Day 1
Training Introduction/Review Module 1 (Orientation)           0800-0830                    
(completed by students prior to course convening)
Module 2 (Principles and Features of ICS)                            0830-0930        
Module 3/7 (Organizational Overview, Organization and     0930-1130        
Organization Exercise                                                                1130-1200
Lunch                                                                                            1200-1300
Modules 4,5 & 6 (Incident Facilities, Resources and           1300-1400                    
Responsibilities Associated w/ ICS Assignments)
Resources Exercise                                                                   1400-1430
Module 8 (Organizing for Incidents)                                         1430-1600
Organization Development Exercise                                       1600-1630
Wrap-up/Recap/Review                                                             1630-1700        

Day 2
Introduction/Review                                                                    0800-0830        
Module 9 (Incident Resources Management)                       0830-1000        
Resource Management Exercise                                            1000-1030
Module 11 (Incident Planning)                                                  1030-1200
Lunch                                                                                            1200-1300
Incident Planning Exercise                                                       1300-1400
Module 13 (Unified Command)                                               1400-1430
Unified Command Videotape                                                   1430-1500
ICS Exercise                                                                                1500-1600

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