As part of their on-going commitment to managing incidents in the harbour, Poole Harbour Commissioners simulated a major oil spill to test their capability should they need to respond to a tier 2 hydrocarbon spill.
The major emergency exercise, which PHC carries out every three years, was facilitated by their contracted oil spill response partners Adler & Allan. This year’s scenario involved an articulated lorry recently disembarked from a ferry, colliding with a 3,000l waste oil bulk storage tank causing waste oil to spread over the quay and head towards the water.
PHC works in collaboration with more than 15 organisations, including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Environment Agency, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and Perenco to carry out these exercises. However, current Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing requirements meant this year’s task was held online for the first time.
As part of the Harbour Commissioner’s response to the practical element of the exercise several booms were deployed from RoRo 3. In the event of a real oil spill situation, these booms would prevent any oil from flowing into environmentally sensitive areas. A skimmer was also used to demonstrate how the oil would be captured.
Although a major oil spill in the Harbour is unlikely, it is important that the risk is assessed and that a plan that has been approved by the MCA is in place to respond to such an incident, especially in such an environmentally sensitive area as Poole Harbour.
Simulated exercises such as this provide the harbour community with the confidence that Poole Harbour Commissioners will be prepared in the event of a major oil spill in Poole Harbour.