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Barracuda-VII exercises to deal with oil spills kick off in Karachi

Karachi: The Barracuda-VII exercises, which are organized by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency under the guidance of Pakistan Navy have started on Monday and will continue till Thursday.

These exercises are aimed to rehearse the anti oil spill procedures and contingency mechanism.

Marine Pollution like major oil spills is catastrophic for marine environment including ports, harbors and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) thus requiring collective response by all stake holders. After the catastrophic incident of MV Tasman Spirit, a Greek registered oil tanker ran aground on July 28, 2003 near Karachi.

After that disaster, a need was strongly felt to formulate a comprehensive Anti Pollution Plan. Subsequently, National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan (NMDCP) was prepared and promulgated by government of Pakistan in 2007 with Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency given the lead role.

The National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan (NMDCP) lays down comprehensive organization and contingency plans to effectively deal with marine disasters at national level. The execution of NMDCP is ordered by Chairman Pakistan Marine Disaster Management Board (PMDMB) which is headed by Chief of the Naval Staff. A Response Committee is meant to coordinate the efforts to deal with the disaster from Disaster Response Centre (DRC) at HQ PMSA.

This marine Oil Spill exercise is being conducted in two phases. Phase-I was held today at HQ PMSA which included opening brief, discussion and pre-operational checks for practical exercise. Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini was the Chief Guest at the opening brief. Subsequent to planning and training sessions, Phase-II will be conducted on 16 November 2016 at North Arabian Sea near Karachi encompassing practical oil containment exercise.

The Chief Guest alongwith DG PMSA Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar and DG Port & Shipping, Asad Rafi Chandna interacted with media on this occasion. Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini stressed upon the coordination of all participants in an effective manner to counter disasters at sea.

DG PMSA highlighted that PMSA being the sole Law Enforcement Agency at sea is alive to and ever ready to respond and curb any maritime crimes in our area. He informed that diesel and contraband items smuggling has been drastically curbed at sea by PMSA. PMSA has also deployed its assets along with Pakistan Navy all along the coast, particularly for security of Gwadar Port.

The units of Pakistan Navy along with PMSA and various government and civil organizations including Ministry of Climate Changes, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Ministry of Interior, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, Gwadar Port Authority, National Institute of Oceanography, Provincial Disaster Management Authorities, SEPA, BEPA, Pakistan Metrological Department, Bahria Foundation, China Power Hub Generation Company Ltd., Shell Pakistan Ltd., Pakistan Oil Refinery Ltd., National Oil Refinery Ltd., Oil Companies Advisory Committee, City Govt Karachi, M/s BYCO, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Pakistan State Oil, Total Parco Marketing Limited, KANUPP, FOTCO etc are participants in the Exercise.

Byline: Staff Report

Source: Daily Times

November 15, 2016

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