On the directives of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, the Pakistan Navy and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) in coordination with all the stakeholders conducted a marine oil spill exercise “Barracuda-VII” from November 14-16.
The exercise was aimed at rehearsing the oil spill procedures and contingency mechanism. This marine oil spill exercise was conducted in two phases. Exercise briefing was held on November 14 at the PMSA Headquarters, and included opening brief, discussions and preparatory checks for practical exercise. Pakistan’s fleet commander Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini along with PMSA Director General Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar attended the opening brief.
Subsequent to planning and training of all stakeholders, Phase-II was conducted on Wednesday, encompassing practical oil containment exercise near Karachi anchorage area at sea. Oil spill equipment was practically deployed and response procedure was rehearsed. The simulated oil spill was recovered successfully. Officials of the Pakistan Navy, PMSA and various stakeholders, including the Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority and BYCO, participated in the sea exercise. PMSA DG Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar witnessed the exercise from a PMSA ship.
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A large contingent of the media also witnessed the exercise at sea. While interacting with the media, the PMSA DG gave a briefing on the objectives of the exercise and capabilities possessed by various departments responsible for the oil spill incident response. He also mentioned that the Pakistan Navy and the PMSA had requisite wherewithal to ensure security in all maritime zones of Pakistan, including Gwadar. He also said that capabilities of the PN, PMSA and other stakeholders like the port authorities and oil marketing companies could be effectively utilised at any location along country’s coast, including Gwadar, in case of any oil spill incident.
Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar also briefed the media on issues of illegal activities at sea and actions being taken by the PMSA to curb the same. The PMSA’s efforts for eradicating smuggling of contraband items, registration of fishing boats in coastal areas of Balochistan and Sindh, creating awareness about marine pollution and control of illegal fishing were also highlighted on this occasion. -dailytimes