NJ Resources, Inc. (NJR) supported the design, facilitation and evaluation of a multinational, Tier 3 incident management exercise for over 200 participants. The exercise focused on the response to a scenario where a client-operated oil tank vessel was struck by a passing container ship causing significant damage including the simulated release of 6,000 m3/38,000 barrels of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) into the major traffic lane of Store Baelt, or the Great Belt, in the Kattegat. The scenario was extremely complicated as it affected a major international traffic route heavily trafficked with ferries, both domestic and international, recreational vessels, container ships, chemical and oil tankers, bulkers etc. The oil also threatened Sweden, making it a transboundary event. Salvage efforts required towing the vessel to another country involving additional wildlife and economic impacts.
NJR coordinated the joint design of the exercise with the client, representatives from Danish Navy, National and local Police, VTS, the municipality of Aarhus, the Danish Emergency Management Agency, and the Swedish Coast Guard. During the exercise, the Danish authorities participated on both local and national levels and in the scenario simulation. Several command posts were established. The client had theirs in a hotel in Aarhus, near shore and on-shore operations were managed from a joint command post at the Police Headquarters in Aarhus (LBS) involving police, fire, municipalities etc., and the On-Water operations were managed from a command post established in Karup (MAS) and supported by the Navy, Vessel Traffic Service etc. The National Command Post (NOST) participated from Copenhagen and were kept abreast of the situation by both the LBS and the MAS.
All participants, including those from the Swedish and Danish authorities, found this to be a very valuable exercise as it highlighted issues that had not been exercised before. Exercise design and execution tested collaboration and communication pathways domestically and internationally, between governments as well as between our client and the various authorities.