Two technical experts from Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) have flown to the U.S. at the invitation of one of the oil spill response companies assisting with the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico spill. An oil spill equipment technician and a response planning officer from MNZ’s Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) have been seconded to support the Deepwater Horizon spill response.
They will be working for Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSR), a company contracted to assist the US Government in its management of the spill. OSR, a United Kingdom-based organization, is part of the wider oil spill response network Global Alliance. MPRS Group Manager Nick Quinn said the pair would be tasked with supporting the spill response effort, while observing and reporting back on any lessons that could benefit New Zealand’s spill response planning.
"The deployment is a great opportunity to gain invaluable experience in working in a large-scale spill response," Quinn said.
One of the men was working in a command centre, assisting with logistics, while the second was working with a shoreline assessment team out in the field.
"The experience these two gain and bring back to New Zealand will benefit our own preparedness and response system," Quinn said. "While we are asked quite regularly to supply personnel to assist in international spills, this is the largest we have been involved with. The benefits of MNZ personnel being involved with a spill response of this magnitude are immense."
The two men are expected back in New Zealand in about three weeks' time.