Oil spill exercise tests responsiveness

oil spill exercise ‘Giant Octopus’ skimmer system extracting 'oil' from the waters. Credit: MPA

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has led a multi-agency Joint Oil Spill Exercise (JOSE) to test and demonstrate Singapore's readiness to respond to oil spills at sea.

More than 250 personnel from 26 agencies participated in JOSE 2018, which comprised a table-top exercise at the MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre. During the exercise, agencies deliberated on operational and policy measures to deal with a major oil spill in Singapore waters and a seaward deployment exercise scenario near Raffles reserved anchorage.

Capt M Segar, MPA's assistant chief executive (operations), said: “Singapore is one of the world’s busiest ports. Ensuring we have the means and ability to respond to any contingencies, including oil spills, is key.”

He added the exercise “not only allows us to test our inter-agency responses but also to share best practices and test new technologies in combating oil spills.”

Simulated collision

The seaward deployment exercise scenario involved a simulated collision between two tanker vessels, one of which sustained damage to its two cargo oil tanks and caused a spillage of approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of oil. The scenario also called for the immediate medical evacuation of an injured crew member on board the damaged tanker vessel.

The spill response teams demonstrated the deployment of equipment such as oil containment booms, spraying of dispersants from a C-130 aircraft and 10 oil spill response craft over the spill area, and recovery of the spilled oil by an innovative “Giant Octopus” skimmer system.

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