USCG portal keeping tabs on oil spill

Tuesday - 5/25/2010, 6:00am EDT

A Coast Guard portal has been busy keeping pace with response efforts since the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.

The Homeport Web portal has been updated to accommodate the high demand for information on port conditions and response activities. A separate information hub site was set up, and 13 alerts on conditions were sent out over the agency's Alert Warning System -- a system established on the portal to disseminate information on port, coastal and waterway conditions and issues, Government Computer News reports.

"Agencies tend to maintain this kind of information internally," said Lt. Comdr. Ted Kim, operations systems manager at USCG headquarters in Washington. "Homeport is the only Coast Guard portal opened up to both internal users and the outside."

The portal's warning system was updated in 2009, and is now being used by more than 100 Coast Guard facilities, which allows the dissemination of images, audio and video over multiple channels and systems.

BP PLC was leasing the rig Deepwater Horizon when it exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering the spill that has so far spewed at least 7 million gallons into the Gulf.