During her recent port visit to the Seychelles, the EU Naval Force flagship, FGS Brandenburg conducted an oil spill exercise with units of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Air Force, Fire and Rescue Services, Port authorities and Maritime Safety Administration.
The command team of FGS Brandenburg coordinated and planned the complex Local Maritime Capability Building exercise in cooperation with the EUCAP Nestor team in the Seychelles,who provided support in the planning, preparation as well as its execution, and the Seychelles authorities.
The scenario started in the early morning of Wednesday 4 June 2014. The Seychelles Coast Guard received a simulated distress call reporting a collision between a ferry and an oil tanker in the coastal waters of Mahe. The collision had caused an oil leak and a small fire on board the tanker. German frigate, FGS Brandenburg provided assistance to the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation by sending her two speedboats to search for any crew members who may have fallen overboard.
The rescue mission was also supported by an aircraft from the Seychelles Air Force, which patrolled the scene from the air. The Seychelles Port Authorities sent a tug with floating booms and oil barriers to contain the oil spill and the fire and rescue service intervened to extinguish the fire.
Passengers from the ferry were evacuated to FGS Brandenburg, and once on board they received necessary medical treatment and their personal details were noted.
This exercise was an excellent opportunity to enhance coordination and communication amongst the different elements of the Seychelles Defense Forces, and with international partners, like the European Union.
Press Release, June 05, 2014; Image: EU NAVFOR Somalia