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Published: 2017-02-10 14:15:00

Whitianga’s Mercury Bay will be the scene of this year’s main marine oil spill exercise carried out by Waikato Regional Council’s  marine oil spill reponse team and partner agencies.

The “Mercury Rising” exercise will be held on 8 and 9 March. Details are not being released ahead of then so as to allow participants to react to unknown events but the exercise will involve a significant theoretical oil spill in the bay.

“This training is essential to bring new staff up to speed with the way we respond and to re-fresh the skills of experienced oil spill staff,” said the exercise’s regional on-scene commander Dave Lovatt.

“The council is committed to providing a swift and effective response when spills do occur and Mercury Rising will help confirm that our resources and skill levels remain at the required standard.”

The bulk of the exercise will take place in Whitianga itself or nearby.  Day one is primarily based at the Oceans Resort motel while day two is when boats and equipment, such as oil containment booms, will be deployed.

Media are very welcome to observe outdoor activities during the two day event. Note that people entering certain areas will need to have a safety briefing first and wear a hi-vis vest and steel cap boots at a minimum.

The on-site media contact on the day will be Drew Mehrtens on 021 723 796, while Mr Lovatt will be the media spokesperson.

Further details will be sent out closer to the exercise.