Regional Components Train Together for Oil Spill Response

Thursday, April 12, 2007
From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

Commander, Navy Region Southwest Asia (CNRSWA), hosted an oil spill response workshop and exercise April 3-5 at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. This exercise brought together different organizations that need to be involved in responding to a potential oil spill in the region.

“The primary goal of the workshop was to educate and familiarize participants with the CNRSWA and Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet response plans and available resources that may be used,” said Awni Almasri, CNRSWA regional environmental coordinator and Navy on-scene commander for CNRSWA.

Several organizations participated in the training including CNRSWA Environmental Department, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography, Naval Facilities Atlantic, Combined Task Forces (CTF) 53 and 59, coalition forces and NSA Bahrain’s Public Works Department, Harbor Patrol Unit and Surface Operations. With the rotating staff of military personnel in the region, it’s important to introduce the key members that would be involved in such an operation. “This was great training to expose the CTF 59 staff to the process of managing the response to a major oil spill in the region,” said Cmdr. Dan Henderson, material and logistics officer for CTF 59. “This will continue to build relationships with CNRSWA, MEMAC (Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center) and regional partners.”

Bahraini organizations included the MEMAC, Arab Ship Repair Yard (ASRY), Kingdom of Bahrain Environmental Affairs, General Organization of Ports and APM Terminals, said Almasri. The first two days were comprised of lectures on properties of oil, response strategies and their limitations, command and control of the incident, public and media liaison issues, and response termination. The final day began with a tabletop exercise that allowed participants to apply the knowledge developed in the previous two days and culminated with an equipment demonstration at Mina Salman Port. “The exercise provided an opportunity to practice decision-making in a variety of spill scenarios that are specific to the area of responsibility,” said Almasri. “As far as the pier-side equipment deployment portion of the training is concerned, its primary goal was to deploy and evaluate equipment and personnel readiness in a biannual requirement.”

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