Two-day oil spill exercise completed offshore Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco has staged a simulated oil spill drill offshore in Tarut Bay, involving 80 employees.

Offshore staff

RAS TANURA, Saudi ArabiaSaudi Aramco has staged a simulated oil spill drill offshore in Tarut Bay, involving 80 employees.

The company’s Marine Department managed the program over two consecutive days in late-April.

On Day 1, response crews from the vesselsAin Dar 3 and Ain Dar 8 loaded up oil-containment booms at West Pier, while helicopters from the Aviation Department transported pollution duty engineers to the simulated oil-spill site to assess the situation.

This was designed as a worst-case scenario involving the release of 250 bbl of oil.

One layer of protection booms and skimmers was mobilized in the spilled area to simulate the collection and capture of oil.

Skimmers inside the boom gathered the oil while smaller marine boats (Mirsal-3, Nyasheen, Khutut Anabeeb, and Mirsal-2) assisted with booming operations.

Marine duty pollution engineers conducted surveillance overflights every two hours after the initial sighting, with the Environmental Protection Department providing shoreline surveillance every two hours.

Regular briefings from the Marine Department’s regional oil spill response coordinator and from section chiefs for planning, operations, and logistics alerted participants to emerging challenges including sudden changes in weather.

On Day 2, onshore protection and clean-up operations started while booms protected the mangrove area of Tarut Bay.

The Marine Department applied the Incident Command System to organize the structure of the response teams to streamline coordination and communication among personnel.

In addition, the command center deployed the Lifeline-Corporate Emergency Response Tool - mapping technology that shows the location of vessels in real time - oil mapping for trajectory modeling, and the Emergency Message Board to display the sequence of events to management.

At the end of Day 2, following use of boat- and land-deployed booms, and aviation assets, the simulated oil spill had been contained and a “disaster” averted, with the oil-spill response team documenting all aspects of the spill.


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