OIL SPILL DRAMA AT NEWHAVEN
March 23 2013.
In accordance with the requirements of The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Co-operation) Regulations 1998, Newhaven Port Authority held an Oil Spill Response Exercise at the Port on Monday 18th March 2013.
The scenario was a spillage into the River Ouse of 30,000 litres of Intermediate Fuel Oil from the Car Ferry Seven Sisters whilst alongside the RoRo Berth. The Oil Spill Response Plan went into action and the incident was classed as a Tier 2, which required the assistance of external agencies and the Port's contracted Tier 2 responders, Braemar Howells Ltd.
Whilst the outside assistance was mobilising to the Port, NPP's trained staff went into action to contain the spill by using workboats and pontoons to deploy fence booms and absorbent booms around the slick and to commence mopping up what they could using absorbant pads.
The exercise was deliberately made a large spill to involve as many people as possible and to simulate the oil slick spreading past the harbour limits and into the upper reaches of the estuary and river. This then brought into play the Environment Agency, Lewes District Council and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency oil spill plans and response, so testing all parties.
Observing and contributing to the exercise were representitives of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), Environment Agency, Natural England and Lewes District Council, who contributed a great deal into making the exercise as realistic as possible.
A good debrief was held and all participants said the exercise had achieved what it is designed for, that is, everybody learnt something and if, God forbid, this actually happened in real life, everyone will be better prepared to deal with it.
The Port Authority has ten members of staff who have attended Oil Spill Response training courses at MCA/EA accredited establishments and keep on site supplies of fence booms, absorbent booms, pads, granules, protective clothing and recovery storage units.