[Updated] Boat Troop soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment [RBR] have completed a major exercise designed to cope with an oil spill in island waters.
The RBR teamed up with fuel suppliers Rubis and Oil Spill Response Ltd [OSRL] for the exercise, which was based around a petroleum spill from a vessel docked at Morgan’s Point.
The exercise saw Boat Troop personnel, part of the RBR’s Support Company, deployed around a notional ship and setting up booming equipment to contain escaping fuel.
RBR Boat Troop soldiers put an oil boom, designed to contail fuel spills, in place off Morgan’s Point.
Support Coy officer Captain Gauntlett, who led the RBR operation, said, “Many of the members of Boat Troop were required to be allowed the day off from their normal jobs in order to help conduct the exercise.
“The Regiment is always grateful to employers, and especially for their flexibility when we’re training for this type of response which, like the Regiment’s hurricane preparedness training, is so important to Bermuda.
“Boat Troop worked hard, as they always do, and I think especially the younger soldiers got a lot out of the day by doing all this for the first time.”
The exercise, held last Thursday, was watched by observers from the US Coast Guard and US Northern Command [NORTHCOM], who are on the island for meetings and site tours in advance of giving planning advice to the Bermuda Government for the 2017 America’s Cup races and assisting with the proposed handover of maritime security to the RBR from the Bermuda Police Service.
Regiment soldiers work to contain an ‘oil spill’ off Morgan’s Point as part of a major exercise with oil company Rubis.
New Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley, who took over from Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown less than two weeks ago, paid his first visit to troops on exercise since taking over the top job.
Col Curley said, “It was great to see the members of Boat Troop at work. They conducted themselves well and seemed very keen.
“This type of capability is very important and Boat Troop’s Sergeant Major Jeff Patterson explained that to the soldiers involved very well.
“It’s not just part of their duties, but a major service to Bermuda that could prevent an environmental disaster and which can’t be duplicated by any other organisation in Bermuda at the moment.”
“I was very pleased and I think the US observers also got a good sense of the operational capability that Boat Troop offers, when partnered with the resources and expertise of Rubis and OSRL.”
Update 2.23pm: Graham Redford, Managing Director RUBiS Energy Bermuda said: “We are happy that we were once again able to partner with the Royal Bermuda Regiment on this extremely important annual exercise. As in previous years, the Regiment’s Boat Troop impressed us with their enthusiasm and professionalism, and their ability to work together closely with our Team to further develop the Island’s marine response capabilities.
“Protecting Bermuda’s environment is of paramount importance to RUBiS and this exercise is one of the most important ways of assessing response plans and procedures by bringing together the key personnel that will work together in the unlikely event of a real spill.
“We are very grateful to their new commanding officer, Lt Col David Curley and officer commanding Support Company Captain Chris Gauntlett for their support and for allowing us to work with them again.”