Guyana Committee simulates fuel spill in Berbice River during Exercise Tradewinds 2023

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As part of the ongoing multi-disciplinary response exercise, EXERCISE TRADEWINDS 2023, a simulated oil spill activity was held on Tuesday in Region 6, Berbice. The simulation consisted of response and proactive phases towards a fictional scenario involving a fuel spill in the Berbice River.

The National Oil Spill Committee (NOSC) initiated the one-day exercise. The committee, a coalition of various agencies including the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), took action at several locations, including the Skeldon Sugar Estate, which served as the Command Center. Other sites included CGX Palmyra and Number 61 Beach, which were designated as Staging Areas and Impact Zones.

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The simulation was the practical application of a two-day Tabletop Exercise that allowed the NOSC to use its planning, coordinating, and operational skills theoretically. Participants were divided into groups based on their agency and expertise. The teams, each with distinct but coordinating roles, encompassed Command, Logistics, Operations, Planning, and Finance and Administration. The exercise was aimed at fostering response cohesion and demonstrating preparedness for real-life hazards.

Part of the oil spill simulation response exercise

The Response Group (TRG), an American Disaster Risk Management entity, facilitated the Tabletop Exercise. Additionally, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) executed a five-day logistics workshop. This workshop aimed to strengthen the existing logistics systems for response mechanisms and introduced software to increase efficiency for logistics professionals.

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These programs, including training for the Incident Command System (ICS) 300, aimed to prepare every response stakeholder for potential hazards and disasters. The CDC said the application of institutional knowledge over the past few days has greatly enhanced national readiness for such incidents, raising Guyana’s state of disaster preparedness.

The team that engaged in the oil spill response exercise

EXERCISE TRADEWINDS 2023, an annual training exercise initiated in 1984 and sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command, continues with a host of events and activities aimed at strengthening the nation’s capacity for security and disaster response. The focus of the exercise is on enhancing security and response capacity, both in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean.

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