Access may be 'slightly restricted' by oil booms

A major oil spill response exercise started today on the River Hamble.

The activity is scheduled to run from Monday, 15 July until Thursday, 18 July.

The exercise is based on a scenario centred on the M27 bridge across the River and involves the deployment of oil booms upstream and downstream of the bridge.

A River Hamble Notice to River Users states that the main channel will remain open at all times, but access may be slightly restricted by the booms.

There will be considerable small boat activity in the area. Some booms will be left in place overnight but will not be in a position which endangers navigation.

They will be illuminated and a boat patrol will be on station throughout.

David Evans, Marine Director and Harbour Master for River Hamble Harbour Authority said: ‘The oil spill exercise was in two parts.

‘Today we exercised the Harbour Authority’s response to an oil spill in the River, using our contracted responder (Adler and Allen) to deploy a boom around part of the M27 road bridge in response to a road traffic accident on the bridge involving a tanker carrying 30000 litres of heating oil.

‘At the same time, staff at the harbour office exercised the communications and command and control aspects of the incidents.

‘This part of the exercise is now complete, and went well.

‘The Harbour Authority is required to conduct a large scale exercise like this every three years, in order to validate our Oil Spill Response Plan.’

He added: ‘The other part of the exercise is for internal training for staff from another company, Oil Spill Response Ltd.

‘They will be deploying booms in the upper Hamble (mainly upstream of Eastlands Boatyard) as training for their staff.

‘The Harbour Authority is not involved in this part of the exercise, apart from making sure that everything is safe. This part will complete on Thursday.

‘The main channel will remain open at all times and should have little if any impact on River users.’

All parties involved will monitor VHF Channel 68 throughout.

Pictures: The Hamble oil spill exercise. Credit: Dave M Evans