The North Mindanao Import Facility (NMIF) of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation conducted a drill on their oil spill response on 27 August 2019, with the PPA PMO MO/C’s Safety Officer, Port Police Division personnel, and Philippine Coast Guard in attendance.

With the cooperation of the Malayan Towage, one of its tugboats was used to pull the spill boom to surround and contain the supposed oil spill at the CDO Port’s Berth 11. Within less than ten (10) minutes, the “spill” was successfully contained.

The drill was conducted to test the readiness and responsiveness of NMIF in cases of oil spill emergencies, including the communication flow among key personnel. The information and exchange of updates and details during actual emergencies will be coursed through the PMO MOC’s Command Center (ComCen), the central communication hub within the port.  Furthermore, the drill also served as an opportunity for the NMIF personnel and others who are directly involved, to practice the skills that will be required in the actual oil spill incident, such as agility in the deployment of the spill boom and proper maneuvering of the tugboat to place it around the affected area.

The invited agencies gave an evaluation during the post-drill meeting. The Philippine Coast Guard made emphasis that the direction of the seawater current must be taken into consideration when deploying the spill boom, in order to immediately contain the spill and prevent it from spreading farther across the sea.

Oil spills have detrimental effects to the environment especially on the marine ecosystem. It can kill or contaminate fish and other aquatic organisms and the water pollution it can cause makes the affected area unsuitable to support underwater wildlife. —IMR Lam