U.S. Coast Guard schedules exercise to test Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.-area contingency plans

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Federal, state, local, non-governmental and private sector organizations will be conducting a full-scale exercise in the Straits of Mackinac, Sept. 9 -11, 2008, to implement, assess and improve the Sault Region Area Maritime Security Plan, Ninth Coast Guard District Mass Rescue Operations Plan, Northern Michigan Area Contingency Plan and State and local contingency plans.

The exercise, a culmination of a year of preparation by contingency preparedness staffs, will focus on multi-agency response to a hazardous-materials and oil-pollution release, mass rescue operations and a terrorism incident. Involved agencies will conduct vessel boardings, waterborne mass rescue and response to a simulated discharge of more than 40,000 barrels of fuel oil.

According to Coast Guard Capt. Mark Huebschman, Captain of the Port for the Straits area, “the planning for this exercise demonstrates the excellent working relationship between the Coast Guard and our federal, state and local partners, as well as our joint resolve to do what is necessary to protect our region and its citizens from all threats and hazards.”

Agencies participating in the exercise include: U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Michigan Army National Guard 51st Civil Support Team, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Intelligence Operations Center, Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Allied EMS, American Red Cross, Cheboygan and Emmett County Emergency Management, Cheboygan County Sheriff Department, Cheboygan Life Link, Cheboygan Memorial Hospital, Chippewa County Emergency Management, Clark Township Fire Department, Emmet County Sheriff Department, Lake Superior State University, Mackinac City Police, Mackinac County Sheriff Department, Mackinac County Emergency Management, Northern Michigan Area Environmental Committee stakeholders, Northern Michigan Regional Hospital, Salvation Army, St. Ignace Fire, St. Ignace Hospital, St. Ignace Police Department, Village of Mackinaw City, Arnold Line Mackinac Island Ferries, Enbridge Energies, Hannah Marie, Mackinac Environmental Company, Mackinaw Bridge Authority, Marine Pollution Control, Shepler Mackinac Island Ferries, Star Line Mackinac Island Ferries, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Museum.

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