Students' part in disaster exercise

AROUND 80 students from schools in the Ipswich and Felixstowe area are to tackle a shipping disaster.

AROUND 80 students from schools in the Ipswich and Felixstowe area are to tackle a shipping disaster.

The youngsters will be taking part in the Haven Container Ports Exercise - finding out exactly how a major emergency involving several ships colliding in the harbour would be handled.

The Sea Port Role Play Day takes place at Kesgrave Community Centre on October 22 and is being organised by the Port of Felixstowe, and Suffolk Education Business Partnership, in conjunction with the Haven Gateway Partnership.

It is the third time the event has been held and the aim is to make students aware of the growing employment opportunities within the Haven Gateway, and more specifically at the port.

Students will take on the role of the eight sectors involved in the emergency response to a disaster - the port's police, fire and ambulance services, corporate affairs department, and marine and operations divisions; Suffolk County Council; Suffolk Coastal District Council; RNLI; Johnson Stevens Agencies Limited; and Harwich Haven Authority.

Throughout the day, they will be required to make important decisions and respond to ever-changing conditions affected by external factors beyond their control.

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They will have to take into account the safety of passengers, customer service and logistical issues and manage resources as effectively as possible.

As well as problem-solving and decision-making, the students will learn important crisis management and communication skills.

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “As the Haven Ports continue to prosper and expand, there will be an increasing demand for young people with the right skills and abilities.

“We hope that the Haven Container Ports Exercise will serve to give young people in Suffolk a taste of the type of exciting careers and opportunities open to them in the maritime and logistics sector.”

Have you taken part before - what did you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail