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Successful oil spill exercise

Successful oil spill exercise

The Auckland Regional Council Harbourmaster and Fullers Group have conducted an oil spill response exercise near the Downtown ferry terminal and Queen’s Wharf.

The mock emergency’s aim was to test the effective deployment of oil spill response equipment in dealing with a black oil spill.

The exercise ran in real time and the scenario was a ’10,000 litre diesel spill from a ruptured tank’ in the side of one of the Fullers Group ferries.

ARC Harbourmaster and exercise controller John Lee-Richards said the scenario was very realistic for the response teams.

“Most of the region’s oil spills occur in the areas of high vessel activity, such as the immediate port area," he said.

“The objective of this particular exercise is to exercise the notification procedure, the response team in their various roles, and mobilisation of teams and equipment to the spill site,” Mr Lee-Richards said.

“Oil spills can have severe environmental, economic and social impacts. As New Zealand’s biggest port, Auckland is classified as high risk due to its high volume of ship traffic, the largest general cargo ship of which can carry up to 7000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil.

“Tankers come into this port and they could be carrying up to 35,000 tonnes of oils,” he said.
Mr Lee-Richards said the Marine Transport Act requires that we provide an effective marine oil pollution response system.

“This exercise will ensure that when a real oil spill happens we are prepared and that everyone understands the role they have to play,” he said.
The exercise involved staff from the Auckland Regional Council, Maritime NZ, Ports of Auckland Limited, MetroWater and Fullers Group Limited.


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