Coast Guard, partners participate in Hawaii oil spill exercise

HONOLULU -- Members from the Coast Guard, Navy, Tesoro, and Hawaii Department of Health sit in a mock press conference at Clean Islands Council facility, April 14, 2011. The exercise simulated joint federal, state and industry response to a significant oil spill at the offshore single point mooring at Barbers Point Harbor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela Henderson.

Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Angela Henderson

HONOLULU — Coast Guard personnel, in conjunction with Tesoro, U.S. Navy, Clean Islands Council, local, state, and federal partners conducted a simulated Hawaii area oil spill exercise at the Hawaii Spill Response Center Thursday.

The simulation was a joint full-scale oil spill event involving Tesoro and the Navy as part of the 2011 National Preparedness Response and Exercise Program and simulated a catastrophic oil discharge at the Barbers Point Tesoro Single Point Mooring.

More than 160 individuals from across the nation participated in two weeks of drills, equipment deployments and training locally leading up to Thursday’s simulated oil spill. The NPREP exercise is conducted triennially and is designed to satisfy Oil Pollution Act of 1990 federal oil pollution response exercise requirements.

Rear Admiral Dixon Smith, Commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, highlighted the significance of the exercise by stating, “It is important for the Navy to participate in this exercise. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the public to be able to effectively respond to catastrophic spills.”

Dan Carlson, Vice President-Refining at Tesoro Hawaii viewed the exercise as an important learning environment and said, “We learned a great deal from each other, and the drill underscored the importance of collaboration for a successful response effort.”

Curtis Martin, Hawaii State Department of Health echoed Mr. Carlson’s view by saying, “The more people we can train and are involved in an oil spill exercise the better we will be prepared in the event of an actual incident.”

Coast Guard Capt. Joanna Nunan, Captain of the Port, Honolulu, addressed the teamwork demonstrated by saying, “The exercise showcased the commitment and preparation by Tesoro, Navy, State and Coast Guard to respond to an oil spill aggressively and together.”

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