20 agencies join hands in drill at sea

Above: SCDF Marine Rescue Vessel Red Dolphin and Rapid Response Fire Vessel Red Swordfish creating a water curtain around the site of the "chemical spill" to disperse toxic fumes. Right: A port chemist from the chemical site team testing the atmosphe
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel carrying out a medical evacuation of "injured" crew members by lowering them in stretchers down the side of the chemical tanker to the SCDF Marine Rescue Vessel Red Dolphin where they would be "treated" for chemical inhalation.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel carrying out a medical evacuation of "injured" crew members by lowering them in stretchers down the side of the chemical tanker to the SCDF Marine Rescue Vessel Red Dolphin where they would be "treated"
Above: SCDF Marine Rescue Vessel Red Dolphin and Rapid Response Fire Vessel Red Swordfish creating a water curtain around the site of the "chemical spill" to disperse toxic fumes. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel carrying out a medical evacuation of "injured" crew members by lowering them in stretchers down the side of the chemical tanker to the SCDF Marine Rescue Vessel Red Dolphin where they would be "treated"
Above: A port chemist from the chemical site team testing the atmosphere for poisonous or flammable gases and vapours using a portable chemical detector. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Maritime rescue vessels sprang into action yesterdayto execute a training exercise that involved a "chemical spill", after two tankers "collided" off Singapore.

Other ships in what is one of the world's busiest waterways kept their distance as officers from 20 agencies took to the water.

The scenario centred on a 128m-long tanker that "collided" with another along the Sinki Fairway, "spilling" 500 tonnes of Xylene, an industrial chemical that is both toxic and flammable.

Two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) vessels were among the first responders to enter the contaminated area, spraying water to create a "curtain" to disperse chemical fumes.

A containment boom - a floating barrier used to prevent chemicals or oil from spreading - was deployed around the tanker, while a chemical site team tested the atmosphere for toxic and flammable gases and vapours.

A drone surveyed the area from the air.

The exercise was organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to test the mobilisation and coordination of inter-agency resources in responding to a chemical spill in local waters. It involved 150 personnel from 20 agencies, including the Singapore Police Coast Guard and the Republic of Singapore Navy.

The exercise ended with the authorities boarding the tanker and medically evacuating two crew members who had "inhaled" the chemical.

The rest of the crew were evacuated and taken through the decontamination process.

 

MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said: "Today's exercise demonstrated our collective responsiveness and tested multi-agency cooperation in managing chemical pollution in one of the busiest waterways in the world."

Captain Daknash Ganasen, senior director of the MPA's operations and marine services division, added: "Through this exercise, we are able to coordinate, manage and execute the plan and ensure that we are able to respond in the given time under stressful conditions. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline '20 agencies join hands in drill at sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe