Coast Guard participates in oil spill response exercise in Portsmouth, Va.

Rear Adm. Stephen P. Metruck (left), Coast Guard 5th District commander, speaks with Capt. Richard J. Wester (center), Sector Hampton Roads deputy commander, and Capt. Christopher S. Keane (right), Sector Hampton Roads commander, during a simulated oil spill exercise. Multiple agencies, including the Navy and Coast Guard, participated in a joint training exercise Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 22-23, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

Rear Adm. Stephen P. Metruck (left), Coast Guard 5th District commander, speaks with Capt. Richard J. Wester (center), Sector Hampton Roads deputy commander, and Capt. Christopher S. Keane (right), Sector Hampton Roads commander, during a simulated oil spill exercise. Multiple agencies, including the Navy and Coast Guard, participated in a joint training exercise . (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies participated in a two-day, government-led, full-scale exercise Tuesday and Wednesday to evaluate the capabilities and effectiveness of the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads area contingency plan.

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, along with Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Hampton Roads Incident Management Team, Virginia Port Authority, and others participated in the exercise simulating a worst-case discharge of fuel oil in the vicinity of Coast Guard Base Portsmouth and the Craney Island Fuel Depot on the Elizabeth River and included more than 200 participants engaged in multi-agency coordination.

The exercise required participants conduct operations of an emergency oil spill response, including creating a unified command, establishing the incident planning, finance, logistics, public information components and oil recovery strategies. Participants coordinated pollution incident response, providing an opportunity for the response community to improve preparedness, identify weaknesses and strengths, and share best practices within an incident command and unified command framework. This exercise allowed players to assess the adequacy of resources, plans and policies to support the pollution response mission.

Planning for this exercise required a joint effort among the Coast Guard, Navy and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for more than a year. Regularly-scheduled planning efforts between the federal government and industry are required by the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program guidelines.

“The exercise was a great opportunity to work along with other agencies within the port of Hampton Roads to test our ability to respond to incidents,” said Lt. Ashley Dufresne, contingency planner and public affairs officer for Sector Hampton Roads.

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