Testing oil spill response in real time

A vessel working on Monaco’s land extension has suffered a major hydraulic oil leak. This frightening scenario was the basis of a recovery exercise staged this week to test the emergency response should such a catastrophe ever occur off the coast of the Principality.

© Direction de la Communication – Michael Alesi

The anti-pollution exercise was held on the morning of Tuesday 11th June at the site of the urbanisation project at sea. In this fictitious scenario, a hydraulic oil distribution hose broke on the Edmond (Trasomar) barge at 9.03am, spewing oil into the water.

Alert procedures were triggered with various stakeholders, Bouygues TP Mc, State services (Maritime Police, Directorate of Maritime Affairs, Fire Brigade) Société des Ports de Monaco, and the SAM of the Anse du Portier.Seven ships and 20 people were mobilised.

By 9.15am, Ecotank, which is charged by Bouygues TP to control potential accidents, jumps into action. They deploy anti-pollution absorbent dams to soak up the flow of hydraulic oil.

Two pairs of subcontracting teams set up horseshoe-shaped screens to collect possible polluting discharges.

Meanwhile, water skimming is taking place on the surface and the viscous parts of hydrocarbons are being collected on the barge.

Authorities initiate preventive protection of the two marine reserves of Spélugues and Larvotto and the Port Hercules is closed by Maritime Affairs Directorate teams.

Just over an hour after the fictitious accident, at 10.22am, the DPMA declared the exercise over and the anti-pollution screens were removed.

The exercise was designed to measure the effectiveness of emergency procedures and the response of various actors, both public and private, if faced with this type of scenario. It was also analysing the effective coordination of all these stakeholders on the water.

It was organised under the direction of the Division of Maritime and Airport Police (DPMA) in association with the services of the State, including the Fire Brigade Corps and the Direction of Maritime Affairs, as well as Bouygues Travaux Publics Monaco and its subcontractors, the Ports Company of Monaco, the URBAMER mission, and the SAM of Anse du Portier.