Multi-agency oil spill exercise held off Pulau Semakau

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More than 250 personnel from 26 agencies took part in the joint oil spill exercise in Singapore waters near Pulau Semakau. PHOTO: MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
A C-130 aircraft spraying oil dispersants during the exercise. PHOTO: MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - A mock collision and oil spill was staged in Singapore waters near Pulau Semakau in a response exercise on Friday (Oct 5).

More than 250 people from 26 agencies were involved in the exercise led by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) - the lead agency for maritime emergencies.

An "octopus" skimmer system was deployed for the first time in the biennial exercise, which allows oil to be collected more effectively using brushes that run in multiple directions. A conventional oil skimmer collects oil from one direction.

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.

Captain M. Segar, assistant chief executive (operations) at MPA, said that 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.

"Today's exercise not only allows us to test our inter-agency responses but also to share best practices and test new technologies in combating oil spills," he added.

The teams responded as if a collision between two tanker vessels, one of which sustained damage to its two cargo oil tanks, caused a spillage of about 10,000 metric tonnes of oil.

A skimmer system extracting 'oil' during a simulation exercise in Singapore waters near Pulau Semakau. PHOTO: MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

The scenario also called for an immediate evacuation of an injured crew member on board the damaged tanker vessel 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.

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

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