Oil spill response capability put to the test in Geraldton
News for the Department of Transport
Maritime environmental emergency response (MEER) experts from across the state will put their skills to the test in a simulated oil spill scenario in Geraldton next week.
The Department of Transport (DoT) is the State's lead agency for ensuring an effective response to maritime environmental emergencies, and this year’s exercise will be conducted in partnership with the Mid West Ports Authority from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 October.
DoT Assistant Executive Director Maritime Ray Buchholz said the Geraldton exercise, named Champion Challenge, would be a shipping related incident within the Port of Geraldton.
“Exercise Champion Challenge will take place over three days, unfolding in real-time to simulate as closely as possible the events and timelines of an actual maritime emergency response,” Mr Buchholz said.
“It will include activities and field operations including setting up an incident management team to coordinate activities and control communications, deploying booms and skimmers to contain and clean up the simulated oil spill, and rescuing and cleaning simulated oiled wildlife.
“Fortunately, maritime environmental emergencies are rare, but when they do happen it’s crucial we have a pool of trained people who can step in and respond quickly and effectively, and these exercises provide this valuable training opportunity.”
About 140 participants will be involved over the three days including from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions, the City of Greater Geraldton, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA Police, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre, and various port authorities and petroleum titleholders.
Mr Buchholz assured the local community that any equipment deployed in the Port next week and additional activity will all be part of the training exercise, and no cause for concern.
"The exercise has been specifically designed not to restrict public access or movement in any way, and there should be no disruption to the community while this valuable training exercise is taking place," Mr Buchholz said.
For further information about maritime environmental emergency response arrangements in WA, visit: www.transport.wa.gov.au/oilspill
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