A national marine pollution exercise will occur in Hobart and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel region of Tasmania from 14 to 16 November 2023.
This exercise will be a controlled, simulated event and not a real marine pollution incident.
Tasmania's marine and coastal environments contain some of the most distinctive flora and fauna in the world in terms of composition and diversity. Several major international and domestic shipping routes operate across the coastline.
While the likelihood of a large marine pollution incident is low, the results can be catastrophic, with impacts across environment, human/social, economic, transport and infrastructure dimensions. Therefore, it is critical to be prepared.
Tasmania has arrangements in place with the Australian Government and other jurisdictions for responding to a major maritime emergency.
Practicing marine pollution response is critical to being prepared for actual marine pollution events.
Each year the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) joins with a host state or territory to practice implementing national oil spill response arrangements by simulating an oil spill scenario in a nominated area.
No actual oil or other harmful substances are introduced to the environment during these annual exercises. However, the exercise scenarios are designed to be realistic and give participants an opportunity to undertake best practice incident management, field-based activities, and working together, as they would do in a real-life incident.
The exercise is an excellent opportunity for the Environment Protection Authority, TasPorts and other Tasmanian Government departments to practice responding to a large marine oil spill.
During the exercise from 14 to 16 November, public access to Dru Point, Tinderbox Beach, Snug Beach, will be limited for a short time for safety reasons and to allow the exercise to proceed efficiently.
MAST will also issue Notices to Mariners, so they are aware of response activities in the Derwent River and D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
Members of the public are respectfully asked not to approach exercise participants working on beaches, at the simulated wildlife hospital at Dru Point, and on the water in the Derwent or D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
Tasmania last hosted a National Plan exercise in 2006 and has continued to invest in training staff from multiple agencies in oil spill response. The value of this training was demonstrated during the 2022 Mersey River (Goliath) incident.