Today, employees are assigned a 12-hour shift around the clock. During their
shift, each employee is in charge of the offsite refinery and the marine terminal.
Tasks include watching tank levels, taking tank level readings, and notifying
the State Lands Commission if a ship or barge comes in to offload product. The
employee is also responsible for completing the necessary paperwork for the state
and other agencies when a vessel docks at the terminal. If an oil spill occurs,
this worker notifies his or her superiors of an emergency and a general alarm
is sounded. A call for a general alarm beckons different agencies, including the
fire department and a spill control and cleanup firm. Everyone works together
to contend with the oil problem in the water.
Ships that enter the berth carry a variety of petroleum products. Depending
on the type of product offloaded, workers at the terminal will pipe it into large
or small tanks. The large tanks are typically used to store gasoline, oil, and
slurry, which comes from ships in large volumes. The smaller tanks are designed
to store "Jet A" fuel used for aviation. Some tanks in the tank farms are insulated
for heating purposes. These tanks store thick product, such as slurry, which needs
to be kept warm to move from the tanks to the pipes. In recent years, the consistency
of this type of product was altered to allow for easier flow into the pipes.
Initially, when a ship or barge enters the berth to offload oil, it needs to
be inspected by the fire department before hoses are attached to the vessel. Upon
the fire department's approval, berth employees attach hoses to the ship and the
product is linked up to whichever tank will be used to store the product. Different
hoses on the dock are used for the different products offloaded from incoming
ships. The oil moves through the hoses to the hard piping and manifold system
by the dock and onto the tank farm. The manifold consists of piping with many
valves that determine where the product will flow. The product is stored in the
tanks and then routed to designated refineries or shipped where needed.