Sparks relieves Walker as Federal On-Scene Coordinator
NEW ORLEANS -- Capt. Thomas Sparks has assumed duties as the Federal On-scene Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Incident Management Team from Capt. Duke Walker.
As the FOSC, Sparks is the federal government representative in charge of overseeing the cleanup of recoverable oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Capt. Sparks has been working alongside Walker and the GCIMT for several weeks in preparation for a smooth transition. He reports directly to Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, who oversees all Coast Guard operations along the Gulf Coast.
Walker’s next assignment will be as commander of Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Ala. He has served as the FOSC since Nov. 15, 2011.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside the response professionals that make up the GCIMT,” Walker said. “The significant advances of this response are directly attributable to the dedication and effort of everyone here. Capt. Sparks is inheriting a great team.”
Sparks is the seventh FOSC for the Deepwater Horizon response. He is a career Coast Guard officer with more than 30 years on active duty, a significant portion of which has been spent at units on the Gulf Coast.
“I’m glad to return to Louisiana and be a member of this high performing team,” he said. “We’ll continue to press on and prosecute this clean up with due diligence. Our guideposts will remain the National Contingency Plan, scientific consensus and data gathered in the field.”
More than 380 personnel continue to actively work on the Deepwater Horizon spill response. The states of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have transitioned to the National Response Center based response with the Coast Guard directing BP cleanup contractors to reports received through the NRC. In Louisiana, 103 miles of the originally oiled 3,192 miles of shoreline remain under active cleanup operations.