Oil spill response training was a “valuable experience”

Specialist oil spill response training has been delivered to a range of organisations, as part of a two-day course hosted by the Isle of Wight Council.

Run in conjunction with Bembridge Harbour Authority, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) beach supervisors training course was the first of its kind on the Island.

It featured classroom sessions on oil spillage contingency planning and methods of response, plus a practical exercise on protecting Bembridge Harbour from incoming oil.

Beach training in Bembridge

Representatives from the local parish councils and sailing clubs, mainland councils, Environment Agency, Natural England, National Trust, RNLI and Island Roads attended the event at Bembridge Sailing Club.

The council’s commercial activities manager, Trish Stillman, said: “We were really pleased to welcome 60 attendees to the Island.

“We all gained valuable experience from the two days together and it has given us the confidence and knowhow to respond effectively, if ever such an incident happened for real.”

Essex-based company Braemar Response Ltd provided operational and technical support during the two days, using specialist oil spill recovery equipment including booms and skimmers.

Gordon Wight, Bembridge Harbour Authority’s operation and safety manager, added: “The harbour is of great significance for nature conservation.

“We recognise our responsibility to help protect and manage this unique and special area and this training will help us ensure we stop or minimise any potential pollution from oil and chemical spills.

“We are delighted to announce that as a result of the course, and with the support of Braemar Response, the harbour’s Oils Spill Contingency Plan has been fully validated and can be submitted to the MCA with confidence.”