Full-scale drill could avert major oil spill
Manama, November 24, 2010
A full-scale drill to test Bahrain's contingency plan in the event of a major oil spill is progressing well, say officials.
The three-day event will help them iron out any deficiencies and glitches before the plan is submitted to the government for approval, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
Speaking during a Press conference at the newly set-up command and control centre at the Sitra fishermen's wharf, he said all relevant agencies had co-ordinated well during the exercise, which began on Monday and concludes today.
He said the mock scenario involved 150 tonnes of bunker fuel oil leaking from a tanker anchored off Sitra at around 8am with oil starting to flow northwards.
'Immediately on receiving information that the oil had started to leak, all those along the coast, including major companies, had been alerted,' he said.
'The first alert was at the Sitra desalination plant where the priority was to prevent the plant from shutting down.'
He said later the jetties belonging to several companies like Bapco, Alba and GPIC were also alerted and they took their own steps to prevent the oil reaching their shores.'
He said all steps necessary were taken to prevent the oil that had flowed out to sea from returning to the shore.
'Booms were used to prevent that from happening and there was a lot of co-ordination.'
Dr Al Zayani said several fishermen also 'reported' the oil spill to the command centre.
He said sensitive areas along the coast, including villages, the Sitra desalination plant, Hidd Power Station, Alba calciner intake, Bapco refinery intake, Hidd industrial area, Sitra industrial area, Tubli industrial area and Arad Bay were treated as 'sensitive receptors' and all steps taken to protect them.
He said there will be a full-scale evaluation of the whole exercise in a week.
'We shall then know what we lack and where we score and all loopholes will be plugged,' added Dr Al Zayani.-TradeArabia News Service