MARITIME Safety Queensland has announced it will lead a pollution response exercise in Gladstone on Tuesday to protect coastal waters from ship-sourced pollution.

MSQ general manager Kell Dillon said the real-time, multi-agency exercise will take place from 21 to 23 June, enabling participating agencies to rehearse the deployment of oil spill response arrangements.  

“MSQ will co-ordinate Exercise Cabin in its lead agency role in co-operation with the Department of Environment and Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council, traditional owners and others,” he said.

“Responders from all functional areas will have the opportunity to practise their emergency deployment roles in real time and real environments during the three-day exercise.”

Mr Dillon said interaction and co-ordination between stakeholders is the key to success in time-critical situations.

MSQ will consider the Great Barrier Reef as part of the exercise, as its proximity to Port of Gladstone means more than 11,000 commercial vessels travel inside the reef each year.

“Protecting the World Heritage-listed reef is a government priority and Exercise Cabin is all about being highly prepared for an adverse event,” Mr Dillon said.


“Gladstone, with about 150 ship movements a month, is a high-traffic, multi-commodity port that is vital to Queensland’s economy.

“As well as its economic value, it is located close to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and fringed by pristine islands and beaches that are important for recreation and tourism.

“An oil spill in the port would pose a threat to marine flora and fauna, potentially interrupt coal and gas supply chains and adversely affect tourism and recreation.

“While we have many proven risk mitigations in place to prevent such an occurrence, exercises such as Cabin enable us, while striving for the best, to prepare for the worst.”

MSQ usually holds pollution response exercises annually, but COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult to hold a full, multi-agency practice response in the past two years.

“That makes Exercise Cabin all the more important for all agencies involved, now that pandemic restrictions have eased,” he said.