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Why were oil spill teams at Ipswich Waterfront?

PUBLISHED: 16:51 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 02 August 2018

ABP oil spill training exercise in the wet dock at Ipswich Waterfront on Wednesday Picture: Jerry Coleman

ABP oil spill training exercise in the wet dock at Ipswich Waterfront on Wednesday Picture: Jerry Coleman


A clean-up team was at work at the Port of Ipswich on Wednesday with inflatable booms forming a barrier around Mariner’s floating restaurant.

A team from ABP go through an oil spill drill at Ipswich wet dock Picture: Jerry ColemanA team from ABP go through an oil spill drill at Ipswich wet dock Picture: Jerry Coleman

It proved to be of great interest to passers-by but it was only a training exercise - there was no oil actually in the water on this occasion.

Employees of the ABP-owned Port of Ipswich and others were taking part in an important training exercise, on how to deal with an oil or diesel spillage in the water of the Wet Dock.

Harbour Master Jerry Coleman said they keep a large quantity of specialist equipment in the port, ready for use in any emergency.

They have specialist contractors they can call on in the event of major spills.

“If it is a small one we have our own trained staff that can cope with a small spill so, with specialists Adler and Allen, we have been training our staff.

“Myself and senior managers are trained to a higher level, and I co-ordinated the session.”

The training took the form of classroom instruction, including theory in the morning, with a practical exercise in the afteroon.

They had approached owners of Mariners restaurant, who had been happy to be involved, he said.

The trainees simulated dealing with a sheen of oil on the water.

An inflatable boom was put out on the water, manipulated with a dingy and anchored to the bottom, completely enclosing Mariners.

This was part of the emergency training for the port, said the harbour master.

“I have been harbour master over nine years and we have only had one spill, in 2012.

“It was land-based in the vicinity of Cliff Quay.”

Ipswich port, and strategic partners including the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich and Parkeston combined for a major exercise over three years, he said, with the next one set for 2020.

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