Thrills and spills at maritime oil pollution exercise

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) conducted a multi-agency joint oil spill exercise on Friday morning, to test and demonstrate Singapore's response to such an occurrence.

Code-named JOSE, the exercise simulated a collision between a large crude carrier and a chemical tanker.

Teams at Sudong Holding Anchorage, 4.5km south of Jurong Island, responded as if 5,000 tonnes of oil had been spilled, resulting in pollution.

The exercise showcased equipment such as oil containment booms, harbour busters and specialised skimmers. Dispersant crafts were also on scene, along with an airplane fitted with dispersant capabilities.

An unmanned aerial vehicle was also deployed to monitor the situation.

The exercise tested Singapore's response time to any maritime incidents, according to MPA chief executive Andrew Tan.

"It also allows us to share best practices and leverage the latest technology to manage the spill," said Mr Tan.

The exercise was part of the International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference held in conjunction with the 10th Singapore Maritime Week.

Thirty-eight agencies were involved in the exercise, which was also attended by about 40 conference delegates from all over the world.

LESTER HIO