Towable storage bags weighing 25 and 50 tonnes are not usually glimpsed in marine oil spill training exercises because they take too long to be deployed. However, a recent course provided ample opportunity to see larger pieces of equipment in operation.
Rosemary Cross is a Senior Environmental Officer in the EPA Division who joined 11 other National Response Team leaders from across the country for a four-day training course in Brisbane last week.
Rosemary says the National Response Team (NRT) is a group of people who are trained to provide support to the Australian, State and Territory Governments in the event of a major marine pollution incident.
"The course was organised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and co-hosted by the Port of Brisbane and Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and was facilitated by personnel from the Oil Response Company of Australia (ORCA)," Rosemary said.
"As part of the course, we were able to deploy and operate a wide range Tier 2 and Tier 3 oil spill response equipment, including various booms, shoreline flushing equipment, dispersant application equipment, transfer and offloading pumps, 10-tonne, 25-tonne and 50-tonne towable storage bags and Marco skimmers."
Rosemary said the training was an excellent opportunity to see larger pieces of equipment, not normally deployed during exercises due to time restraints, in operation and to become familiar with equipment capabilities and idiosyncrasies, limitations, setting-up and trouble-shooting.
"It gave me a chance to get up close and learn more about equipment we don’t normally get to see in Tasmania and it was wonderful to work as part of the team," Rosemary said.
"I also got to operate a Marco skimmer – that’s a boat with a belt that dips down into the water. The belt is oleophilic, which means it attracts oil, and the Marco skimmer is usually driven through an oil slick in order to attract the oil. It was great to get the opportunity to jump behind the wheel and have a go at operating one."
You can find out more about the National Response Team:here