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Emergency Method for Joining Booms with Incompatible Connectors

A closer look into the “World Catalog of Oil Spill Response Products: Emergency Method for Joining Booms with Incompatible Connectors.”

Did you know there is a standard for connecting oil spill containment booms with incompatible connectors? In section 6.5 of the “World Catalog of Oil Spill Response Products,” an ASTM standard outlines the procedure for joining oil spill containment boom with incompatible connectors during emergency response operations. The connector of each oil spill containment boom shall be joined together by drilling holes into the back plate of the existing connectors. Typical backplates for Acme connectors are 2” wide with bolt holes at 3” centers. Therefore, it is advised that the holes be placed at the center of the 2” wide plate and in between the existing bolt holes. The top hole(s) shall be placed above the waterline and the bottom hole(s) shall be placed below the waterline, typically below the oil layer. The standard distance between these holes is standardized according to the length of the coupler. All distances in the standard were converted from Metric to English units and rounded for ease of measuring in the field. Therefore, some variance may exist between the ASTM standard and the distances in the guidelines. A basic guideline for hole distances for emergency joining of connectors can be found below:

  • Drill 2 holes for couplers measuring 18” – 25”: The top pin hole on the connector is typically at the waterline of the boom. Measure 4.75” from the top pin hole and drill the first hole near this location centered between existing bolts. There will be some variance depending on the existing bolt layout on the backplate. Drill the second hole on the backplate 12” below the first hole. Please note that different containment booms may have different bolt layouts on the backplates. Therefore, some vertical misalignment may occur after the oil spill containment boom have been connected but the freeboard and draft will likely remain sufficient.
    • Containment Boom Sizes with applicable coupler length: 6”x6”, 6”x9”, 6”x12”
  • Drill 3 holes for couplers measuring 26” – 38”: The top pin hole on the connector is typically at the waterline of the boom. Measure 4.75” from the top pin hole and drill the first hole near this location centered between existing bolts. There will be some variance depending on the existing bolt layout on the backplate. Drill the second hole on the backplate 12” below the first hole and the third hole on the backplate 12” below the second hole. Please note that different containment booms may have different bolt layouts on the backplates. Therefore, some vertical misalignment may occur after the oil spill containment booms have been connected. However, as long as the freeboard and draft remain effective for the emergency response operations the connection will remain valid.
    • Containment Boom Sizes with applicable coupler length: 8”x12”, 8”x16”, 8”x24”
  • Drill 4 holes for couplers measuring 39” – 48”: The top pin hole on the connector is typically at the waterline of the boom. Measure 4.75” from the top pin hole and drill the first hole near this location centered between existing bolts. There will be some variance depending on the existing bolt layout on the backplate. Drill the second hole on the backplate 12” above the first hole. Then drill the third hole on the backplate 12” below the first hole and the fourth hole on the backplate 12” below the third hole. Please note that different containment booms may have different bolt layouts on the backplates. Therefore, some vertical misalignment may occur after the oil spill containment booms have been connected. However, as long as the freeboard and draft remain effective for the emergency response operations the connection will remain valid.
    • Containment Boom Sizes with applicable coupler length: 10”x24”, 12”x18”, 12”x24”

Once all of the holes have been drilled, all stainless steel hardware shall be installed. A sealing material should be used between the connectors prior to installing the bolts. This will allow for a watertight seal to minimize possible oil leakage between the two connectors.

Want more information on oil spill containment boom connectors? Contact Acme today with your questions or comments.

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