In an alarming testament to the bizarre times in which we live, Bahrain is planning a new kind of drill. As small children we listened eagerly for the sound of the siren that would give some reprieve from our soporific classes for even a few minutes; then we would huddle under our desks, giggling, completely ignoring our earnest teachers explain what to do should a fire come sweeping through school.
It’s unlikely anyone involved with the upcoming drill in Bahrain will be giggling as members from several important agencies gather for three days to stage a dreaded BP-esque oil spill disaster, because an oil spill in Bahrain has the unwelcome potential to shut down desalination plants and a vibrant fishing industry.
Gulf Daily News reports that the Public Commission for the protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife has organized a three-day mock spill.
The purpose of the drill is to establish the country’s readiness to cope with a major oil spill.
“The drill is part of a national plan to combat oil spills and ensure that all concerned bodies are co-ordinating with each other,” according to Mr. Zakanja Konji, head of the Commission’s Public Relations and Environmental Media department.
The mock-spill will be staged off the coast of Sitra starting on Monday, and will bring together representatives from the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center (Memac), the Interior Ministry, Coast Guard, Civil Defense, Police, the Works Ministry, Bapco, and various other general organizations and even the Media.
Sitra was chosen since it is the site of various petrochemical plants – the most likely place for an oil spill to occur. But desalination plants, dry docks, and several other sensitive installations are clustered there. It is also an important fishing area, which, should a spill occur, would be as badly impacted as the BP Gulf spill was for the American fishing industry.
The Commission has previously sited that earlier Gulf spill which leaked 4.9 million barrels of oil and caused immeasurable damage to both the marine and land environment.
“Commission director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani earlier said Bahrain was set to launch a new oil spill contingency plan to avoid a disaster like the massive leak at the BP oil rig off the Gulf of Mexico, the US, earlier this year,” according to the paper.
Although it would be better for oil companies to take better responsibility (ahem! BP), we laud Bahrain for their proactive forward thinking.
More oil spill news on Green Prophet:
image via dunzki