Exercise Flamingo

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Operation Flamingo Photo

Up to 100 people from 15 State Government agencies were put to the test in a recent maritime incident response exercise, on 13 and 14 October. "Exercise Flamingo" brought together organisations who would be involved in the event of an actual maritime incident in NSW waters.

The two-day annual oil spill exercise focused on preparedness in the event of a shipping casualty and an oil spill in NSW waters, as well as shoreline and wildlife response to the oil spill scenario.

Up to 80 participants were involved on each day of the exercise, either as participants, umpires or observers. On day one, held in Sydney, participants were required to deal with a scenario involving a vessel casualty and a potential oil spill from the vessel in NSW waters. Day two, held in Port Kembla, focused on shoreline and wildlife response to the oil spill scenario.

The exercise involved deployment of some of the equipment used in response to a shoreline clean up and decontamination tents that have recently been added to equipment stockpiles on hand for these incidents.

The NSW Government holds training exercises such as this one in order to be ready to respond at any time when needed under the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and Other Noxious and Hazardous Substances (National Plan) arrangements.

NSW Maritime is responsible under State and national plans to respond to any marine oil and chemical spills on the north coast between Port Stephens and Queensland, including the waters around Lord Howe Island, and on the south coast from Gerroa to Victoria. The three port corporations at Newcastle, Sydney and Port Kembla are responsible for their respective port and adjacent coastal areas.

The exercise built on the already high standard of response capability as many of the personnel have been involved in the shoreline clean up in Newcastle following an oil spill which occurred in the Kooragang Basin area on 25 August this year, and also supported recent interstate incidents such as the Pacific Adventurer, in April 2009, the Montara platform spill in August 2009.

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