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Galicia tests out its readiness in case of oil spills

Galicia tests out its readiness in case of oil spills

The drill exercise involved the placement of two protective tarp barriers – one for the sea, another for the beach

Qualified personnel carried out an environmental drill exercise yesterday morning at the Gandarío beach, located between the Ares and Betanzos river, not far from the city of A Coruña in Spain. This was to test out the readiness level of the various regional departments involved in marine and coastal protection, in case there was a case of an oil spill in the ocean.

The high point of the drill was the utilization of special tarp barriers – one of which is meant to be placed in the water and the other on the sandy beach, as a way of containing the pollution and its harmful effects.

Hydrocarbon spills are a major threat to marine ecosystems

The exercise in question involved various departments from the regional Government of Galicia, such as the Galician Coast Guard, the Galician Technological Institute for the Control of the Marine Environment (Intecmar) and the General Directorate of the Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Climate Change.

The set-up for the drill consisted of the receipt of a warning for an alleged oil stain on the beach. This led to the activation of the territorial contingency plan for accidental marine pollution in Galicia (Plan Camgal) at a minimum emergency level. The Coast Guard personnel onboard an auxiliary ship first proceeded to launch two drifting buoys that simulate the position of the oil slick and later deployed the barriers.

One of the barriers is a sealing type and the other is an oceanic type. During the exercise, they were joined in order to divert the trajectory of the supposed pollution spot and to protect the sand. In this way, the exercise made it possible to verify the deployment capacity and response times of the different units involved and to evaluate the effectiveness of the technical means used.

Technicians from Intecmar's Scientific Documentation and Support and Oceanographic Modeling units also participated in this test and, faced with the fictitious spot, put into practice a drift prediction model.

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