THE Port of Yamba is to stage its annual oil spill exercise tomorrow, for the first time under the jurisdiction of Sydney Ports.
Yamba Harbour Master, Capt Simon McEvoy, said it will be a real time exercise involving a burning luxury vessel that founders at its berth and starts losing its 10-tonne load of fuel oil.
"It will begin at 7am and involve more than 50 personnel from Sydney Ports, Roads and Maritime, Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service and Clarence Valley Council and volunteer groups such Marine Rescue Surf Life Saving and Wildlife Care and Rescue agencies.
"With so many emergency crews in the one area it'll be easy to confuse it for a real crisis and I want to assure local residents that all the action is based on a fictitious event and there is no need for concern."
"Most of the action will be around the Yamba tug berth, Hickey Island Car Park and Calypso Caravan Park as staging points," Capt McEvoy said.
Sydney Ports Deputy Harbour Master, Angus Mitchell, said Sydney Ports is now the 'combat agency' for responding to marine oil and chemical spills in Yamba Port area after taking over that responsibility from the former NSW Maritime in December last year.
"I'll be acting as safety officer during this exercise which is being staged to test Yamba's Marine Oil and Chemical Spill Contingency Plan.
"The main focus this year will be the use of field equipment - to ensure it is deployed in a timely and safe manner while monitoring how well the agencies work together to contain and recover an oil spill in real time."