Captain Michael Parks served as chief of marine operations for the rehabilitation of the orca Keiko, and is leading the search for suitable sites for a seaside sanctuary for the Whale Sanctuary Project. He began in 1998 as a field engineer on the installation and operation of Keiko’s sea pen and barrier net facility in Iceland, and continued through the many challenges of that remote and harsh marine environment. After Keiko swam free and across the North Atlantic Ocean to Norway, Michael directed marine operations to remove 280 meters of barrier net with tons of steel chain and concrete anchors from the sea floor as the final phase of Keiko Iceland.
Michael’s first engineering job was in 1970 on a construction surveying crew establishing control points on complex highway interchanges. He was a field engineer working on the 800 mile Alaska Pipeline in 1975 and worked on hydro surveying projects in the early 80’s.
During the 1989 Exxon Oil Spill in Alaska, Michael was captain of various vessels conducting wildlife rescue and oil skimming operations, and research vessels chartered by state and federal scientists collecting scientific data to gather data from various remote Gulf of Alaska coast lines and offshore islands that were impacted by the oil spill.
Michael is currently licensed by the USCG as a master of motor vessels up to 1,600 gross tons, and holds a current merchant marine engineering credentials. His formal education was from Oklahoma State University and University of Tulsa in Civil Engineering. Michael is recognized for his safety record in marine operations both in Alaska and Iceland with no accidents or injuries.