- On 4th April 2016
- In Ecology
- By William
In February, Exo Environmental was involved in a planned ‘oil spill incident management exercise’ carried out by the Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners. The aim of this exercise was to test the capability and processes for dealing with a fuel or oil spill in the harbour and wider estuary.
The exercise was setup by the Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners and spill management partner Adler & Allen, and involved the scenario of a commercial vessel in distress, with a simulated fire on board and a spill of marine gas oil into the Brightlingsea Creek. The ship’s crew members were able to extinguish the fire, but were injured in the process of doing so, resulting into casualties on board and in the water. Additional complexities were added to further test responses to unexpected events, including a traffic accident and members of the public becoming casualties while rescuing wildlife.
Following the simulated mayday distress call, Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners came to immediate action and deployed their planned response. This response involved collaboration with other emergency services and agencies: Maritime and Coastguard Agency; the Marine Management Organisation; the Environment Agency; the emergency services; Tendring District Council; Essex County Council; Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority; Natural England; and observers from other stakeholder and interest groups. The entire exercise provided an excellent test of current plans and on how to improve them for any future incidents.
Exo Environmental acted as observers during the exercise, but our background knowledge and understanding of the estuary’s hydrodynamics was a valuable asset at the time, to predict the speed and the extent of dispersal of marine gas-oil. At the same time it was a valuable training exercise for us, especially the experience of working in collaboration with the various emergency services and other organisations.
For more information on our consultancy and project management, click here.