Cyprus is in a position to deal with oil spill incidents at sea, both at state and private level, Deputy Minister of Shipping Vassilis Dimitriades said on Friday during a scheduled exercise off the coast of Zygi-Vasiliko.
The exercise was carried out by several companies, including Vasiliko Terminal Services Group (VTS) and the Environmental Protection Services (VSS-EPE), in collaboration with VTT Vasiliko (VTTV).
The simulated scenario saw a tanker collision at VTTV pier 2 during its mooring, resulting in the leak of 5,000 litres of fuel into the sea, with a fire starting in the tanker itself during towing.
During the exercise, the emergency plan in place was implemented to prevent oil from spilling into the sea.
The simulation tested communications between the companies involved and the mobilisation of emergency anti-pollution vessels carrying equipment to reduce and collect the oil spill, as well as the use of a fire truck to extinguish the fire on the tanker.
After the exercise, which was completed successfully, Dimitriades said “the whole operation was carried out to determine the readiness of everyone involved to deal with such incidents.
“The government strongly praises such efforts and is ready to help all companies who are willing to improve their preparedness in dealing with such potential incidents,” he said
CEO of Vasiliko Terminal Services Group Yiannos Lakkotrypis said the aim of the operation was to prove the level of vigilance and the immediate reaction of the crew when dealing with a serious accident at sea.
“Everyone involved in the exercise responded promptly,” he said. “Had this been a real-life situation, damages to the environment and to the tanker would have been very low.”
VTTV Managing Director George Papanastasiou also congratulated the companies involved in the exercise for their immediate response to the simulated incident, emphasising the need for emergency safety plans to avoid damaging the environment.
“Today’s exercise is an example of the strict standards applied by the all the companies involved in the protection of the sea and highlights VTTV’s professionalism and reliability for the operation of the largest and most modern terminal for storage and management of petroleum products in the Eastern Mediterranean.”