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Harbour emergency exercise hailed a huge success06 Apr 2009

The Port of Tyne's marine department were put through their paces recently during a successful emergency training day on 27th March.

Held at South Tyneside Colleges Marine Simulator, the exercise scenario involved a simulated incident, played out in real time involving a collision between a tug attending a large car carrier and a pleasure craft with 12 people on board in the Jarrow Slake area.

The exercise was overseen by over thirty representatives from the Port of Tyne, Police, Fire & Rescue Service, Ambulance, Coastguard and RNLI Lifeboat, as well as observers from the Marine and Coastguard Agency, North and South Tyneside Councils, NSA and Simon Storage.

While the Port of Tyne has a long history of using the Marine Simulation Centre for pilot training, this is the first time it has been used for this purpose. The advantages of marine simulation in this case are that it enabled the Port to test a very specific scenario, with the added realism of simulated images of the Tyne and surrounding areas.

Port of Tyne Deputy Harbour Master Alan McPherson said "Because of the multi agency involvement this exercise has taken 6 months to plan, as staff were put to the test familiarising themselves with the Port of Tyne emergency plan".

The day long exercise was held as a requirement of the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas regulations.

Alan McPherson adds "Incidents such as the type exercised are thankfully very rare. However, it is essential to test the plan by means of an exercise in order to ensure a rapid and co-ordinated response from all agencies involved. This is the best way to ensure the safety of life, the environment and property is maintained".

Chris Thompson, Head of the Marine Simulation Centre at South Tyneside College, said "This type of exercise is the closest to real life that you'll ever get and gives all port and emergency services a unique opportunity to come together and practice for the worst case scenario. Our entire simulator building was used for the exercise, with six bridges and four instructor stations running simultaneously during the 150 minute scenario. The simulator system provided a behavioural-based learning experience, which enabled observers to see first-hand the effectiveness of the port procedures and witness participants' behaviour in a safe and controlled environment".

Operational Note to Editors

The Port of Tyne is an important Northern Gateway and key player in the Tyne & Wear region; a dynamic trading hub with five business areas: conventional and bulk cargoes; logistics; car terminals; cruise and ferries; and estates.

For further information contact

Lisa Donohoe, Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: 0191 455 2671
Mob: 07912 390 777
Email: lisa.donohoe@portoftyne.co.uk

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