U.S. and Canadian response agencies to test oil spill response capabilities

TOLEDO, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard, Federal, state and local response agencies; local industry and Canadian response agencies are scheduled to conduct an oil spill response exercise, Wednesday, in Port Clinton, Ohio, and the Lake Erie Islands.

The National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (NPREP), which simulates a major maritime oil spill incident, is one of a series of federally mandated exercises the U.S. Coast Guard holds throughout the country.

This one-day full-scale exercise is designed to test components of the Western Lake Erie Area Contingency Plan. Key areas to be tested include the ability of the Unified Command to work within the National Incident Management System/Incident Command System framework, as well as communications, logistics, response, and coordination with other maritime stakeholders and other federal, state, and local agencies.

“This exercise provides a unique opportunity for inter-operability between multiple response agencies with one common goal: preserve the pristine Great Lakes environment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Keith Pelletier, Commanding Officer, Marine Safety Unit Toledo. “We conduct these exercises so, in the event of a real oil spill, we can provide a rapid and coordinated response.”

Exercise simulations at the Ottawa County Emergency Operations Center in Port Clinton will mirror real world conditions. Additionally, there will be some personnel response in the Lake Erie Islands. Associated with the exercise will be the deployment of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) from the U.S. EPA’s research vessel the Lake Guardian.

Some of the participating agencies and industries include the U.S. Coast Guard: Ninth District, Sector Detroit, Marine Safety Unit Toledo, Station Marblehead, Ohio, Atlantic Strike Team; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.; U.S. Border Patrol; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. EPA; State of Ohio: Dept. of Natural Resources and the Emergency Management Agency; Canadian Coast Guard; Environment Canada; Transport Canada; Ohio State University Stone Lab; Ottawa County, Ohio: EMA, Fire/EMS, Sheriff’s Office; Put-in-Bay, Ohio: Port Authority, Fire Dept.; American Steamship Company; and Marine Pollution Control.

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