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Maritime NZ to lead exercise on Waitematā Harbour

Published: 13 April 2018

Maritime NZ is leading a maritime response exercise next week on Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour.

Exercise Paihere will involve a simulated collision between two commercial vessels in the shipping channel, with a pretend oil spill of 100 tonnes. The exercise will run from 17 to 19 April.

Maritime NZ’s Exercise Coordinator, Mick Courtnell, said 120 National Response Team (NRT) members will be taking part, with participants from Maritime NZ, councils, industry, Massey University and contracted services.

Auckland Council will be making the most of the exercise, with staff from Auckland Emergency Management acting as observers and Auckland Transport Harbourmaster staff supporting in a variety of roles from shoreline clean-up to aerial observations.

“Aucklanders may be able to see a range of things going on, both on water and on the surrounding beaches as we test how we would react to a simulated oil spill.”

“Some of the things the public might see are recovery vessels on the water, a pretend beach clean-up, wildlife recovery and even manned and unmanned aircraft that we would use to gather information.”

“Residents near Little Shoal Bay in Northcote will get a close-up view as we will be practising using light machinery on the beach for training. As this is only a pretend oil spill, there will be no actual oil on the beach, and no sand will be removed.”

Mick says the exercise will provide valuable information that will contribute to future training and to help ensure New Zealand’s readiness to respond to a maritime emergency.

An emergency coordination centre (ECC) will be set up in the CBD for the exercise, with a forward operations base (FOB) at the Devonport Naval Base.