A TANKER and a ferry collided in Portsmouth Harbour today.
But while it was treated as a major incident, it was only a drill to practise emergency responses.
The exercise, which ran from 11am to 2pm today, featured a simulated collision between a Whitaker tanker and a Brittany Ferries cruise-ferry and involved emergency responders from the police, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, and South Central Ambulance Service trust.
Brittany Ferries’ Normandie, which normally runs on the Portsmouth to Caen route, was used and a number of ‘casualties’ were treated at the scene, with emergency response vehicles called to the site. Fake smoke was used on board to make the scenario as realistic as possible.
Passengers arriving and departing on Brittany Ferries’ Armorique and Pont-Aven during the day were given letters outlining what was happening.
‘Brittany Ferries has an exemplary safety record, but it is important that we prepare carefully for any eventuality, either on board one of our ships or by the dockside.’ said Mike Bevens, Brittany Ferries group passenger commercial director.
‘Working closely with the emergency services and our colleagues at Portsmouth International Port within a realistic emergency scenario is the best way for us to do this. Like previous exercises, Exercise Alexander will allow us to fine tune our established emergency plans and procedures, but also to identify any areas that require improvement.’
Portsmouth International Port manager Martin Putman added: ‘Whilst we hope never to have to deal with a situation like this, it is important that we are always prepared for a worst-case scenario. The exercise has proved that everyone who would be involved in responding to such an incident can work efficiently together, harnessing the expertise of the emergency services, Brittany Ferries crew and port staff to quickly resolve the most challenging of situations.’
Whitaker Tankers director, Ashley Jenkins said: ‘We are proud to support our colleagues at Brittany Ferries and Portsmouth International Port in this important initiative and are sure to gain useful insights to further enhance our safety procedures.’