Organisations tested their multi-agency response to a major incident in the waters around Harwich during a table-top exercise on Thursday, May 17.
Harwich Haven Authority, Tendring District Council, Hutchinson Ports (Harwich and Felixstowe) and the four blue light emergency services in Essex – Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, the East of England Ambulance Service and HM Coastguard – were among those taking part in Exercise Adler 2.
The exercise scenario saw a container ship leaving the Port of Felixstowe collide with a cruise ship coming into Harwich International Port.
Kevin Beacon, Deputy Harbour Master at Harwich Haven Authority, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to collaborate with us on Exercise Adler 2.
“The Authority plays a critical role in ensuring safety of navigation in one of the UK’s most important trade gateways, which includes the UK’s busiest container terminal, the Port of Felixstowe. Therefore, it is vital we are prepared to deal with a major maritime incident.
“Many vessels visiting the Haven are in excess of 390 metres and therefore require expert management by both our pilotage and Vessel Traffic Services teams. Ships are getting bigger – indeed, during 2017 we safely navigated the world’s largest container ship the 400 metre OOCL Hong Kong into Port of Felixstowe.
“Exercise Adler 2 provided us with an opportunity to further test our response planning with our multi-agency partners.”
Exercise Adler 2 will be followed by a salvage table-top exercise (Adler 3), before a large-scale live exercise Adler 4 in 2019.
Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Emergency Planning, said exercises such as Adler 2 allow organisations and emergency services to practise working together before an actual event.
“As well as testing our response to an incident and flagging up potential issues to be overcome, at a more basic level these exercises bring people from different bodies together to get to know each other, and to improve understanding of how each group can work together to deal with something if it happens,” she added.
“I was glad to hear how well Exercise Adler 2 went, and look forward to all those involved continuing to work together in the future – hopefully never having to deal with an incident such as that posed in the exercise.”