Singapore conducts oil spill exercise

oil spill


(Straits Times)

More than 250 people from 26 agencies took part in a maritime exercise yesterday that included the staging of a mock collision with oil spill in the waters off Pulau Semakau.

The exercise was to share best practices as well as test inter-agency responses and new technologies in combating oil spills, said Captain M. Segar, assistant chief executive (operations) at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), which led the effort.

An “octopus” skimmer system was deployed for the first time in the biennial exercise.

Unlike a conventional oil skimmer which collects oil from one direction, the “octopus” allows oil to be collected more effectively by using brushes that run in multiple directions.

The spill response teams also used equipment such as oil containment booms and sprayed dispersants from a C-130 aircraft, while a Police Coast Guard patrol craft carried out cordon duty.

As Singapore is one of the world’s busiest ports, ensuring it has the means and ability to respond to any contingencies, including oil spills, is important, said Captain Segar.

MPA is Singapore’s lead agency in dealing with maritime emergencies.

During yesterday’s exercise, the various teams responded as if there was a collision between two tanker vessels. The scenario assumed that two cargo oil tanks on board one of them was damaged and led to a spillage of about 10,000 metric tonnes of oil.

The scenario also required the immediate evacuation of an “injured” crew member on board the damaged tanker, by a Singapore Civil Defence Force Marine Fire Vessel.

Concurrently, a table-top exercise was held at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre at PSA Vista near Haw Paw Villa. Participants discussed operational and policy measures to deal with a major oil spill in Singapore waters.

The exercise marked the end of the 20th Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition 2018, which began on Wednesday.

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