Barbados’ disaster preparedness as it relates to oil spills will be tested once again, when the Barbados National Oil Spill Response Committee hosts its Tier III Oil Spill Simulation Exercise next week at the Hilton Hotel.

The three-day exercise will feature representatives from relevant emergency departments, including the Department of Emergency Management, the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Fire Service, the Coastal Zone Management Unit and local oil companies Texaco, Sol and Esso, with the latter sponsoring this year’s activity.

Head of the Barbados National Oil Spill Response Committee, Anthony Headley, explained that simulations were a key to the National Oil Spill Response Plan and observed that this year’s exercise would see participation from international contributors.

"We are testing the new oil spill contingency plan, communications between the response agencies and the integration of the National Response Team with an international 62-member team – the Latin American Rapid Response Team – LARRT which is ESSO’s response team.?? Last year we had a physical component where we actually deployed boom, which are containment devices we use to stop spills. This year, it’s going to be a desktop simulation, which is more along the lines of strategic response.?? So you’ll be given a scenario and the response team will come up with an approach to address the spill based on the resources we have.?? We’ll also be testing theoretically bringing in oil response equipment," he said.

Last year’s simulation, which was held in October, revealed that local agencies were able to effectively respond to a Tier II Spill, which would represent between 24 and 476 barrels of oil.?? The Tier III exercise will see a simulated response to a spill of 476 barrels or more.

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