The UK is testing elements of its response to an oil spill incident today and tomorrow (25-26 May) by running an equipment exercise on St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly.

The exercise is simulating how the UK would react to a pollution incident with a focus on at-sea and shoreline protection. The exercise is testing how effectively and efficiently counter pollution equipment and personnel can be deployed to an incident.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is leading the exercise and is working closely with the counter pollution equipment contractor Braemar Howells, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Isles of Scilly Harbour Authority.

During the two day exercise a variety of different counter pollution equipment will be deployed at Porth Hellick on St Mary’s and at-sea from the port. A number of vessels will be involved and oil protection booms and relatively new equipment will be tested such as the Nofi Current Buster.

Nofi Current Buster

Gail Robertson, MCA counter pollution team said: ‘Thankfully, modern navigational safety improvements mean that the Isles of Scilly are no longer blighted with the tragedy of vessels being regularly wrecked on their coastline despite the large number of vessels which pass through the nearby waters every year.

‘Nevertheless, with thousands of small islands scattered around the UK coast from the Shetland Isles down to the Isles Of Scilly, it’s right that we continue to test and exercise our response capability around the entire UK to improve our readiness should a major oil pollution incident occur in the future.

‘This exercise will give the UK an opportunity to assess its response capability to pollution in an environmentally sensitive and ecologically precious location.’