Maritime and Coastguard Agency leads counter-pollution exercise

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) counter-pollution response is being practiced this week in an exercise off Portland in Dorset

A HM Coastguard van and counter-pollution sign at a previous training exercise.

The 3-day activity, running from Tuesday 5 March to Thursday 7 March, will test the response to a mock scenario in which 300 tons of fuel is spilled in waters east of Portland Harbour.

The practice will include testing MCA operations at sea as well as working with partner agencies to further test their plans along the shoreline.

The UK’s counter-pollution response contractor Ambipar is being deployed, with involvement also from the Marine Management Organisation, Portland and Weymouth harbour authorities, and Weymouth and Dorset councils.

The range of equipment being deployed is weather dependent but is planned to include about 4 vessels, oil collection booms, and skimmers to remove pollution from the surface.

A surveillance plane might also participate, simulating the MCA’s spill monitoring and dispersant spraying capability.

Stan Woznicki, MCA Head of Counter Pollution and Salvage, said:

"The Maritime and Coastguard Agency works hard to keep the maritime and coastal environments safe from pollution and to protect people and wildlife. We are ready round the clock to respond to incidents in UK waters and the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

"We rehearse regularly to prepare our teams to respond to a wide range of incidents, and also how to work alongside other agencies so that, if the worst happens, collaboration is swift and effective."

From: Maritime and Coastguard Agency