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Marine oil spill exercise in Whitianga

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Waikato Regional Council and its partner agencies will carry out this year’s marine oil spill exercise in Mercury Bay.

The Mercury Rising exercise will involve council’s Marine Oil Spill Response Team reacting to a significant theoretical oil spill in the bay and is set to take place on March 8-9.

Regional on-scene commander Dave Lovatt says at this stage all details of the exercise are being kept hush-hush to allow participants to react to unknown events.

“This training is essential to bring new staff up to speed with the way we respond and to re-fresh the skills of experienced oil spill staff.

“Council is committed to providing a swift and effective response when spills do occur and Mercury Rising will help confirm that our resources and skill levels remain at the required standard.”

The bulk of the exercise will take place in Whitianga itself or nearby.

Day one is primarily based at the Oceans Resort motel, while day two is when boats and equipment, such as oil containment booms, will be deployed.

More details about Mercury Rising will be made public closer to time of the exercise.

The scenario of the 2015 exercise involved participants responding to an imaginary fishing vessel running aground in bad weather off the Coromandel coast between Tainui Cove and Tararu, losing 2000 litres of diesel into the ocean while another 2000 litres remained on board.

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