Oil spill exercise in the Basin - Earl Gray to arrive Wed. p.m.

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on September 18, 2012
The CCGS Earl Gray will be taking part in an oil spill collection exercise in the Annapolis Basin this week.
Coast Guard

The Coast Guard is getting to know the Annapolis Basin and the Bay of Fundy tides.

The Earl Gray—a 70 m ice breaker and buoy tender—plus several other smaller vessels and a Coast Guard helicopter are taking part in a simulation exercise here this week.

The exercise is to test the Coast Guard’s oil spill response procedures.

“We run these every year in different locations,” says senior response officer Keith Laidlaw. “We want to confirm our area contingency plans are complete and correct. Digby is going to be interesting because of the tide range; it’s a busy fishing port and there is a lot of shipping out in the Bay heading in and out of Saint John.”

The exercise scenario calls for a collision with the Princess of Acadia, resulting in an oil spill in the Basin or just outside.

The “players” in the exercise will begin arriving at the Digby Pines on Tuesday, Sept. 18; the exercise itself begins Wednesday, continues Thursday and wraps up Friday morning.

About 50 to 60 players will establish a command post at the Pines to direct the response to the spill.

The Earl Gray and support vessels will probably arrive in the Basin Wednesday night.

The Earl Gray will be simulating its oil collection procedures, pumping the ‘oil’ into a sea slug or towable bladder for transport to the Digby wharf where it will be pumped ashore.

The Atlantic Emergency Response Team (ALERT) out of Saint John, the East Coast Response Centre (ECRC) of Dartmouth and Point Tupper Marine Services of Port Hawkesbury will also be involved in the exercise.