US Coast Guard MSU Valdez
105 Clifton Drive, Valdez, AK 99686
USCG MSU Valdez is located about 26 miles northeast of Bligh Reef, which is where the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in 1989. The commanding officer of MSU Valdez has a Captain of the Port Zone that encompasses all of Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska up to the Exclusive Economic Zone. At the heart of MSU Valdez’ area of responsibility is the Port of Valdez, the United States’ northernmost ice free deep-water port. Though the port doesn’t freeze over, the presence of ice from the Columbia Glacier calves regularly into the Valdez Arm and shipping lanes used by large vessels transiting in and out of Valdez.
Aside from the general operations conducted by the United States Coast Guard units, the unit in Valdez mostly concentrates on ice patrolling. Alaska is a great place to observe any unusual changes that might cause damage and become dangerous. These operations were implemented by the US Coast Guard after the disaster from 1913, when the luxurious ship Titanic hit an iceberg that was not supposed to be there and sank. It was one of the most severe accidents in the world. Such operations became mandatory then. As soon as the troops observe anything unusual, they immediately announce the marine experts.
Another very important mission conducted by Marine Safety Unit Valdez is the environmental safety. Since Alaska hosts so many oil companies, the US Coast Guard must always stay alert regarding any potential oil spills or other similar accidents. Aside from the oil, other hazardous substances might harm the marine life and become dangerous for the coastal human communities as well.
Marine Safety Unit Valdez doesn’t have a very long history, but it has some notable operations. One of the missions that brought in a lot of popularity and increased its reputation took place in 1989. Exxon Valdez was a very important tanker at that time. During an unfortunate accident, it lost over 100,000 cubic meters of oil. The crude oil formed a huge spot that could easily be seen from a helicopter. Marine Safety Unit Valdez was the first unit to take action.
Arriving at MSU Base Valdez
The closest major airport to Valdez, Alaska is Valdez Airport (VDZ / PAVD). This airport is 4 miles from the center of Valdez, AK. If you’re looking for domestic flights to VDZ, check the airlines that fly to VDZ.