ENSURING port staff can respond effectively to an oil spill was the aim of an exercise at Weipa in north Queensland this week.

Together with Maritime Safety Queensland and Rio Tinto, North Queensland Bulk Ports officers demonstrated how a response would be coordinated in the event of an incident.

NQBP chief executive Nicolas Fertin said it was essential for NQBP officers to be well-drilled in their important role as first responder.

“Protecting the environment is something we take seriously. We are committed to ensuring we are ready to respond immediately if need be,” Mr Fertin said.

Listening to an expert talk about how to use a key piece of machinery. Credit: NQBP

“Oil spill scenarios are played out regularly by NQBP’s trained and committed First Strike Response Team to ensure all members know their roles thoroughly,” he said.

“It is also important to work with our port partners in order to coordinate the response as efficiently as possible.”

In the training scenario, NQBP’s First Strike Response Team along with representatives from MSQ and Rio Tinto deployed a specialist containment boom that is kept on site at Evans Landing Wharf.

The scenario also involved the use of oil response vessels. As the port authority of the Ports of Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point and Weipa NQBP is responsible for ensuring an effective first-strike oil spill response capability is maintained.