Coast Guard to participate in oil spill response exercise in the Old Port of Tampa

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TAMPA — Coast Guard personnel, in conjunction with state and federal partners, are scheduled to conduct an emergency preparedness and pollution response exercise for a simulated oil spill in the Old Port of Tampa Nov. 4 – Nov. 6, 2014.

The full-scale exercise will be based around a simulated worst-case oil release scenario in the Old Port of Tampa, and is designed to evaluate the capabilities and effectiveness of a full-scale government led multi-agency response.

The exercise will evaluate the ability of response organizations to form a Unified Command, and provide a coordinated response and initial assessment of the impacts from a simulated sizable oil spill.

As part of the exercise, the Coast Guard along with other federal, state and local industry partners will conduct a pollution response drill involving the use of equipment near Picnic Island on Nov 4. This drill provides the opportunity to deploy and recover response equipment designed to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

Following the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the federal government developed a National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program to provide a mechanism for compliance with oil spill response exercise requirements.

“Coordinating efforts with our federal, state, local and industry partners is essential to the effective response to oil spills and crucial to meeting our collective responsibilities under the Area Contingency Plan,” said Capt. Gregory Case, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Commander. “If we don’t exercise together well, we won’t be able to respond together well, and responding effectively is our goal.”

The Coast Guard in coordination with federal, state, local and industry partners, assemble together to conduct Emergency Preparedness and Pollution Response exercises every three years as part of an established multi-year strategy to build capabilities and improve readiness. Planning, training, and exercising are all important components of the nation’s homeland security strategy and response capabilities.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg’s Area Contingency Plan was completed on September 30, 2012.

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