As Regional Oil Spill Response coordinator, AOC played host to the participants in a simulation scenario that saw the Vela oil tanker Albutain Star being struck by a container vessel while anchored, resulting in oil being released near Sidi Kerir, Egypt, anchorage.
“With more than 150 participants at the drill, credit must be given to them as they worked through a solution to a very difficult task. It is this level of cooperation that is vital to the success of response efforts and to minimize the impact on the public and environment,” said Matthew Sommerville of AOC.
Martin Wingrove, acting as incident commander, echoed those statements, adding: “It is testament to the training and preparedness of our own AOC oil spill response team and Saudi Aramco and Vela colleagues as well as to the commitment and professionalism of the Egyptian authorities and supporting oil spill response companies, that we were able to work smoothly together as a team to handle the ‘spilled’ oil.”
The first day’s activities took place at the Suez-Mediterranean Terminal, addressing issues such as vessel recovery, dispersants and aerial surveillance. The next day’s activities focused on waste disposal, oiled wildlife, media, costs and compensation. A workshop was held Nov. 3 to discuss and review the drill’s outcomes and lessons learned.
As representative of the joint EEAA and EGPC incident command team, Rafiq Abdel Ghaffar spoke of the importance of the drill for participants to “evaluate yourself and know that your plan is effective and applicable.” He added his praise at the organization of such a large scale exercise with so many participants in such a short time.
The first day of the drill also brought a visit by high-level Egyptian governmental officials, including the Minister of State for the Environmental Affairs, Maged George Elias Ghattas, who visited the Joint Coordination Center to get an overview of the exercise.
The exercise allowed AOC to evaluate and reinforce its Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which is used across Europe and the west coast of Africa.
(Article by Kimberly Johans)