Practice makes perfect
Environment Southland's Oil Spill Response team polished their clean up skills on the water today, practising with specialist equipment at Awarua Bay.
Regional on scene commander Dallas Bradley said the team attended about 15 spills near Bluff every year, and so the drill was a good chance to practise with proper equipment in case of a major spill.
The equipment, including booms to fence oil in and skimmers to remove the oil from the water, was on loan from Maritime New Zealand, he said.
If there was a major spill near Bluff, Mr Bradley believed more than 70 species of birds could be affected.
Most of 20 personnel participating in the training exercise, which included staff from Meridian in Fiordland and the Southland District Council, were very experienced with spills, and some had even helped in the Rena disaster, he said.
The test was designed to refresh the practical skills of the team, and would finish up when the tide changed this afternoon, he said.
The Southland Times