The Coast Guard, Maritime Administration (MARAD), North Carolina Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and more than 40 other agencies completed a full-scale oil spill preparedness exercise in Kitty Hawk.
The joint exercise is designed to test and improve the effectiveness of federal, state, and local agencies in Virginia and North Carolina to respond to a major pollution incident.
The exercise scenario was of a vessel colliding with a submerged object 40 miles off the Virginia-North Carolina coast releasing over 226,000 gallons of fuel oil.
As part of the exercise, the agencies tested their personnel, resources, and capabilities on the water by deploying boom, a temporary barrier designed to contain oil. Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City, Currituck County Emergency Management, North Carolina Marine Patrol, and North Carolina Incident Management Division deployed boom around Monkey Island, North Carolina, to simulate oil-containment protocol, on April 11. Another boom deployment for the exercise is scheduled for May 16 in Rudee Inlet, Virginia. During the boom deployment Rudee Inlet will be inaccessible to boating traffic. The boom deployment is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and is expected to be completed by 11 a.m.
“Although we routinely train for these types of incidents, this is the first exercise of this magnitude in the area, crossing two states and requiring an immense amount of support from Virginia and North Carolina agencies,” said Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, Sector Virginia commander. “The amount of cooperation and expertise we saw from about one hundred people with forty-five separate agencies is a true testament to the readiness of federal, state, and local agencies in Virginia and North Carolina.”