Oil spill experts descend on Geraldton for emergency exercise
Geraldton will host maritime environmental emergency response experts from across the State who will put their skills to the test in a simulated oil spill scenario next week.
Over three days, about 140 participants will be involved from agencies including the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and 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 title-holders.
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The Department of Transport, the State’s lead agency for ensuring an effective response to maritime environmental emergencies, will conduct the exercise in partnership with the Mid West Ports Authority from Wednesday to Friday, October 19-21.
DoT maritime assistant executive director 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,” he said.
“It will include activities and field operations including setting up an incident management team to co-ordinate 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.
“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.”
Mr Buchholz said the community could be sure any equipment deployed in the port next week and additional activity would 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,” he said.
For further information about maritime environmental emergency response arrangements in WA, visit: www.transport.wa.gov.au/oilspill.
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