Publication Details

Watts, T. & McNair-Connolly, C. J. (2011). The role of the United States Coast Guard in marine environmental protection: the USCGC Alex Haley example. 10th Australasian Conference on Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR 2011) (pp. 1-14). Launceston Tasmania: University of Tasmania.


Few countries in the world task their military with the role of marine pollution response in addition to its responsibility as a military service. One country that does is the United States of America. The United States Coast Guard has, in addition to its military and security missions, the task of marine pollution response and enforcement. This program includes the prevention of oil and chemical spills, unauthorized ocean dumping and to prevent the introduction of invasive marine species into the maritime environment . This paper considers the operational and environmental costs associated with a major oil spill and the revenue recovered from the responsible parties. It does this through the example of the USCGC Alex Haley and its role in preventing a major oil spill and protecting local wildlife sanctuaries during its search and rescue efforts following the grounding of the M/V Selendang Ayu in December 2004. The vessel was carrying approximately 1,601,055 litres of fuel and was seen as a potential risk. The paper concludes with a summary of recent emergencies involving the US Coast Guard.