Every year on the bases a number of exercises are carried out, Search and Rescue, Fire evacuation, Oil spill training etc. This makes sure that everyone has a grasp of what needs to be done in the even of an emergency, and know how to use the equipment we have on base, and also serves to highlight anything that could be improved in the way these events are tackled.
There are a number of features on base, and procedures to minimise the risk of an oil spill. All the tanks are bunded, so that if there is a leak it will be immediately contained. All the pipes for transferring oil, and the couplings have been designed to minimise the risk of spills (dry couplings), and under each coupling when fuel is transferred from a ship there is a large container to catch any drops should there be any. All the pumps have deadman switches, and people check the fuel lines and are stationed at each end of the pumping line. If anything is spilt, like over filling a camping stove, there are absorbents in a number of places so that it can be cleaned up straight away and not get into the environment.
For our oil spill exercise we were given a scenario that two fuel drums of petrol had fallen off the JCB loader off the corner of the slipway onto the beach, and were leaking. After marking out a ‘dirty zone’ we set to work.
Having first put drum containers over the leaking barrels and upending them to prevent further leakage we put out some floating absorbents, then started to dig a trench to collect any fuel seeping down the beach.
Our two booms were inflated and launched to contain any fuel on the water.
The ‘fast tank’ was erected to collect contaminated water/fuel.
Here are the absorbent sausages, the boom and the ditch.
Flushing the ‘fuel’ out of the beach into the ditch where it collects and can be pumped into the ‘fast tank’.
Water collecting in the ditch.
Ernie and Katie setting up the skimmer.
Ernie getting the pump working.
The skimmer floats at the surface to improve the efficiency of it’s collection of oil. Using the orange lines you can pull it around the boomed off area sucking up oil. Once it’s in the ‘fast tank’ the oil/water separates, the oil can then me skimmed off the surface again and put into barrels for recycling.
Disaster averted by team KEP.
Back to base for a debrief, tea, cake and medals!