May 31, 2012

Victoria’s Coastal Waters to Host Major Pollution Spill Response Exercise

Our national preparedness to deal with major oil and other pollution spills is to be tested in the waters off the Victorian coast.

Exercise Sea Dragon will be conducted in Western Port Bay on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 June by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Victorian Department of Transport, with support from the Australian Marine Oil Spills Centre.

“Australia has some of the most pristine coastal waters on the planet and oil spillage from damaged ships has the capacity to wreak massive environmental damage,” says Mr Albanese.

“Vigilance and ‘being prepared’ are our best protection,” he says.

“Exercise Sea Dragon is a great example of cross-agency collaboration as we test our ability to handle a pollution spill,” says Victoria’s Ports Minister, Dennis Napthine.

“It allows us to test our preparedness and identify areas for improvement.”

The exercise will be a mock marine pollution scenario and will be played out in Western Port Bay and at several locations on shore.

Western Port Bay is the home of the active commercial Port of Hastings and the region also has extensive outcrops of mangroves, sea grasses and three national parks.

Commercial and recreational boating and fishing are very popular in Western Port Bay and the area attracts many tourists throughout the year.

The public might notice increased activity during the exercise with an aircraft fly-over, personnel in protective equipment and simulated clean up activity.

Operational exercises such as Exercise Sea Dragon are routinely conducted around the nation’s coastal waters by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, State and Territory authorities and industry, as part of the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Hazardous and Noxious Substances.