ENVIRONMENT

South Bay set for oil spill exercise

Wednesday 23 January 2013, 3:57PM
By Environment Canterbury
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CANTERBURY

Environment Canterbury will be leading an oil spill response exercise at South Bay, Kaikoura, on Tuesday 5 February.

“The exercise is designed to bring together all of the agencies that would be involved in a possible spill and to practice systems and equipment use,” said Jim Dilley, Environment Canterbury’s Regional Harbour Master and On-scene Commander.

“It is vital we undertake pre-planning work for any possible spill, and exercise our response team regularly.

“This exercise is also about involving the community so we are keen for locals to know what is happening and we hope to see a few people come along to look,” he said.

Oil recovery and containment equipment and oiled wildlife response equipment will be brought to Kaikoura for the exercise.

The exercise will focus on the boat harbour at South Bay, but will include wildlife assessments at the north side of the Peninsula and a review of the possible sites for treating any oiled wildlife.

The team of oil spill responders will include a wildlife assessment team consisting of Environment Canterbury, Massey University and Department of Conservation Staff.

Mimouk Hannan, Environment Canterbury wildlife officer, said Kaikoura has an abundance of wildlife, and much of it can be vulnerable to oil spills.

“Kaikoura has an abundant and diverse range of ocean wildlife including the Hutton’s shearwater, an endangered seabird which is found only in Kaikoura.

“The wildlife here is a significant feature of the area’s conservation values, and it is also important to the community. It is vital we are aware of all the local wildlife, and identify methods of how to protect it from ecological threats,” she said.

The multi-agency team includes members from Environment Canterbury, Massey University, Department of Conservation, Kaikoura District Council and Maritime New Zealand.

Members of the public who wish to see some of the equipment, talk with responders, and find out a little about the team are welcome to come to South Bay Boat Harbour from around 15:00 (3 PM) on Tuesday 5 February.

The Exercise will be completed and the team depart by 16:30 (4:30PM).