KARACHI: Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) conducted exercise BARRACUDA-V in co-ordination with Pakistan Navy from 21st to 23rd October 2014.
The exercise was aimed at rehearing the anti-oil spill procedures and contingency mechanism. This marine Oil Spill exercise was conducted in two phases. Phase-I was held at Headquarters of Pakistan MSA which included opening brief, discussion, preparation checks for practical exercise, whereas Phase-II was conducted at Arabian Sea that included practical oil containment exercise.
After the catastrophic incident of massive spillage of oil at Karachi by MV Tasman Spirit in 2003, a need was felt for formulation of a comprehensive Anti Pollution Plan. Subsequently, PMSA prepared a draft Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
A comprehensive National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan was proposed to tackle all marine disasters including pollution from Oil, Search and Rescue and Salvage Operations at sea. The plan called ‘National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan’ was approved in 2007.
The execution of ‘National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan’ is ordered by Chairman Pakistan Maritime Disaster Management Board (PMDMB) which is headed by Chief of the Naval Staff. Director General PMSA is Coordinator of Marine Disaster Response Committee (MDRC). The response committee is meant to coordinate the efforts to deal with the disaster from Disaster Response Centre (DRC) established at HQ PMSA. The Disaster Response Centre is manned round the clock by PMSA staff.
MSA alongwith different units of Pakistan Navy and civil organizations Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, Gwadar Port Authority, National Disaster Management Authority, PEPA, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Pakistan Custom, BYCO, SEPA, OCAC etc also participated in the exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to test and rehearse procedures as per NMDCP including movement of physical assets.