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Oilex and HNS Exercise test marine pollution responses (with photos)

     Two annual marine pollution response joint exercises, this year code-named Oilex 2014 and Maritime Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) Exercise 2014, were held simultaneously this morning (October 16) off Tuen Mun to test responses in combating pollution caused by spillage of oil and HNS in Hong Kong waters.

     During the joint exercises, response groups contained and cleaned up a mock spill situation that would have posed threats to the nearby environment and facilities. The scenario involved a collision between a tanker later anchored off Pearl Island and leaking diesel and a chemical tanker later anchored off Lok On Pai and leaking liquid acrylonitrile. Response officers also conducted a shoreline oil clean-up drill at the beach near Tsing Lung Garden.

     Under the Maritime Oil Spill Response Plan, the Marine Department (MD) co-ordinated the oil spill exercise, in which other government departments including the Civil Aid Service, the Auxiliary Medical Service, the Government Flying Service (GFS) and the Hong Kong Police Force took part. Several oil companies and Hong Kong Response Limited also participated in the exercise.

     The HNS spill response exercise was co-organised by the MD and the Environmental Protection Department with participation from the Fire Services Department, the Government Laboratory and the Hong Kong Police Force.

     In the wake of the simulated oil spill, oil combat teams used floating barrier booms to encircle the tanker while salvage teams transferred the diesel and patched up the leakage. Two barrier booms were also set up near the tanker to prevent the spill from drifting. The exercise demonstrated the spraying of oil dispersant from pollution control vessels and a GFS helicopter onto the sea, as well as the use of oil skimmers and other equipment.

     Combating the HNS spill, the response team stopped the leakage, transferred the remaining chemical contents in the damaged tank to other tanks, and sprayed seawater on the sea surface to suppress the chemical vapour.

     The exercises provided hands-on experience for relevant departments to adopt a suitable pollution combating strategy according to the properties of the substances concerned.

Ends/Thursday, October 16, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:54


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