Marine oil spill exercise ends


KARACHI: Barracuda-VII, a marine oil spill exercise being conducted in the Arabian Sea by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) in coordination with all other stakeholders from Nov 14 concluded here on Wednesday.

The exercise aimed at rehearsing the oil spill procedures and contingency mechanism was conducted on the direction of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah. It was done in two phases. The first phase comprised the briefing before the exercise at the PMSA headquarters and included the opening brief, discussions and preparational checks for the practical exercise. Pakistan Fleet commander Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini with PMSA director general Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar attended the opening brief. All stakeholders and their representatives participated in the briefing.

After planning and training of all stakeholders, Phase-II was conducted on Wednesday, encompassing practical oil containment exercise at sea, near the Karachi anchorage area. The oil spill equipment was deployed and the response procedures were rehearsed. The simulated oil spill was recovered successfully.

Assets of Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and various stakeholders, including Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority and BYCO, took part in it. Representatives of Joint Staff Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, National Disaster Management Authority, BEPA, NIO and Pakistan Coastal Guard DG also attended the exercise. Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar witnessed the exercise from a PMSA ship.

He also briefed the media on the objectives of the exercise and its capabilities possessed by various departments in relation to oil spill incident response. He said Pakistan Navy and PMSA had requisite wherewithal to ensure security in all maritime zones of Pakistan, including Gwadar. He said the capabilities held by PN, PMSA and other stakeholders such as the port authorities and oil marketing companies could be effectively utilised at any location along the Pakistan Coast, including Gwadar, in case of any oil spill incident.

Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar also briefed the media on issues of illegal activities at sea and actions being taken by the PMSA to curb the same. PMSA’s efforts to eradicate smuggling of contraband items, registration of fishing boats at Balochistan and the coastal areas of Sindh, creating awareness of marine pollution and control of illegal fishing were also highlighted on the occasion.

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