Oil spill exercise at Whangarei’s Port Nikau

22 Apr 2016, 9:45 AM

People noticing activity including a council boat and oil spill clean-up equipment off Whangarei's Port Nikau next week are being advised not to worry – it's all part of a scheduled exercise involving a fictional spill.

The Northland Regional Council is planning to test a number of its oil spill response arrangements during the Wednesday 27 April exercise based around the main Port Nikau wharf off Port Rd.

Once Whangarei's main port, the location is now a developing maritime infrastructure area and the exercise will simulate a spill of about a tonne of bilge oil from a ship berthed there, which is affecting both the water and nearby shoreline.

The exercise will include deployment of booms and other equipment to contain and recover 'spilled oil', consultation with businesses and local iwi about the incident, a shoreline assessment and clean up and the establishment of a decontamination area.

The council's Regional Harbourmaster Jim Lyle says it's also an opportunity to provide onsite training to nearby local maritime industry representatives.

He says for safety reasons, the general public is asked to keep well away from the operational area during the exercise, which will begin in earnest about 9.30am and should be all over by early afternoon.