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After the grounding of the Exxon Valdez, and its subsequent oil spill, all parties with interests in Prince William Sound (PWS) were eager to prevent another major pollution event. While they implemented several measures to reduce the risk of an oil spill, the stakeholders disagreed about the effectiveness of these measures and the potential effectiveness of further proposed measures. They formed a steering committee to represent all the major stakeholders in the oil industry, in the government, in local industry and among the local citizens. The steering committee hired a consultant team, who created a detailed model of the PWS system, integrating system simulation, data analysis, and expert judgment. The model was capable of assessing the current risk of accidents involving oil tankers operating in the Prince William Sound and of evaluating measures aimed at reducing this risk. The risk model showed that actions taken prior to the study had reduced the risk of oil spill by 75 percent and identified measures estimated to reduce the accident frequency by an additional 68 percent, including improving the safety management systems of the oil companies and stationing an enhanced capability tug, called the Gulf Service, at Hinchinbrook Entrance. In all, various stakeholders made multi-million dollar investments to reduce the risk of further oil spills based on the results of the risk assessment.
© 2002 INFORMS. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication as Merrick, J. R. W., van Dorp, J. R., Mazzuchi, T., Harrald, J., Spahn, J. and Grabowski, M. (2002). The Prince William Sound Risk Assessment. Interfaces 32(6):25-40.. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/inte.184.108.40.20674
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VCU Statistical Sciences and Operations Research Publications