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Emergency Teams in River Exercise

ImageA simulated explosion in ship's engine room put crews from the Port of London Authority, emergency services and Royal National Lifeboat Institution to the test during an exercise on the River Thames this week.

The scenario centred on a fire aboard a Cobelfret ferry, downstream of the QEII Bridge on the Dartford side of the Thames.  The vessel had fake casualties, was pretending to have trouble manoeuvring, and was suffering a mock fuel leak.

The Port of London Authority, Kent Fire Brigade, HM Coastguard, the RNLI, South East Coast Ambulance Service and Kent Police took part alongside vessel owners, Cobelfret; its manager Euroship Services Ltd; terminal operators CdMR; ImageSvitzer Marine and the Maritime Volunteer Service.

The exercise crews were tasked with rescuing the casualties, tackling the fire, ensuring the safety of other vessels, and stemming the oil leak.

Port of London Authority chief harbour master, David Snelson, said:

"Safety's our top priority and we work hard to ensure incidents don't happen in the first place.  However, it's important to be prepared for the worst, and that's what this exercise was about.  Today's practice helped us identify ways of improving our game, so that we're properly prepared should a real incident happen.  It's rare to have the opportunity to use a real ship for an exercise and, on behalf of everyone involved, we would like to thank Cobelfret for their involvement."

Euroship Managing Director, Frank Davies, said:

"Any incident on the Thames involves a number of emergency services, so it is really important for them to have the chance to practice working together.  As a major customer of the Port, with more than 6,000 vessel movements on the river every year Cobelfret were happy to take part in the exercise."

For more information and photographs please contact Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, Tel: 01474 562366.

Notes  to Editors

  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year. The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships. The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types