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Published: 2001-10-30 00:00:00

Thousands of litres of oil will be spilled into the Firth of Thames next week – but there’ll be no mess and not one oiled bird to rescue.

Environment Waikato and a number of other agencies are testing their response to a fictitious oil spill into the harbour in an exercise on Kuranui Beach next Wednesday (November 7). About 20 people will be involved in the exercise, which will use real oil spill equipment and test the resources available.

Exercise co-ordinator Adam Munro says the field exercise will involve staff from Environment Waikato, several district councils, neighbouring regional councils, the Department of Conservation, Maritime Safety Authority and iwi. The exercise will test the contingency plans Environment Waikato has for oil spills which it is responsible for.

The scenario is a realistic one, where a tanker loses control on a bend and rolls into the Firth of Thames, spilling 6000 litres of engine oil into the sea. An incoming tide is likely to bring the oil into the shore and needs an urgent clean up.

Oil spill recovery equipment – which is stored at Thames – will be used, including booms, mops and absorbent pads to ensure that those using it are familiar with how it works. Adam Munro says while people are welcome to come and watch the emergency workers, they should not enter the cordoned off area for safety reasons.

The exercise will start at 9am and should be complete by late afternoon.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.