Falklands : Falklands - FIG Provide Sterling Service For Exercise Silver Teal
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 12.06.2009 (Article Archived on 26.06.2009)
FINN gives FIG sterling ratings for their participation in Exercise Silver Teal.
Photo (c) J. Brock (FINN) - A Search and Rescue Helicopter from 78 Squadron MPC
FALKLANDS – FIG PROVIDE STERLING SERVICE FOR EXERCISE SILVER TEAL
By J. Brock (FINN)
a Sea King Search and Rescue Helicopter from 78 Squadron supported FIG with exercise Silver Teal
Friday, 12 June 2009 was a record day for warm temperatures but better still for the sterling response that the Falkland Islands Government gave to Exercise Silver Teal. This annual exercise is meant to test the efficiency of FIG departments to deal with a major incident. This year the scenario was the sinking of a fully loaded tender from a cruise vessel.
The exercise began at approximately 0900hrs on Friday when a “member of the public” called the police station to say that they saw smoke rising from an area of Stanley Harbour between the Narrows and FIPASS. FINN received an e-mail from Chief Police Officer Paul Elliott at approximately 0902hrs announcing the beginning of the exercise and a brief run down on what supposedly had just happened.
According to the script the M/V Pharos SG had collided with a fully loaded tender from the Cruise Vessel, “Darwin Spirit” and had sunk it.
Sullivan Shipping, agents for Darwin Spirit, immediately launched their harbour tender to see what had happened and offer assistance. A second harbour launch from an unspecified source also was launched to lend assistance.
At 0927hrs emergency services were dispatched from the hospital (KEMH) headed towards FIPASS.
Immediately setting up a command post in a classroom at FIDF, the Royal Falkland Islands Police organised a reception area designated as the Seamen’s Mission. Security, consisting of members of the Falkland Islands Defence Force was tasked to keep members of the public (and the media) away from the command post. A secondary security force consisting of members of the Royal Falkland Islands Police was set up around the Seamen’s Mission.
At approximately 1010hrs a Sea King Search and Rescue Helicopter from 78 Squadron Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) arrived on scene and assisted in rescue efforts near the Narrows.
Government House called for the media to attend a press briefing at 1025hrs, with the first ambulance arriving back at KEMH came at 1027hrs.
Also at 1027hrs a fire appliance from the Fire and Rescue Service arrived at St Mary’s Walk to await the SAR Helicopter with the more critically injured aboard..
H. E. the Governor Mr Alan Huckle told the media that there had been an incident in Stanley Harbour where the M/V Pharos had collided with a tender from M/S Darwin Spirit and that an undetermined number of people had been injured. He also said that survivors were picked up on both sides of the narrows and at Hadassah Bay.
When pressed about casualties, H. E. the Governor Mr Huckle said, “Well, we certainly have 70 wet people.” He continued that at the time of the interview there were two known seriously injured people but their conditions were not known yet.
If this was a real situation a media centre would be set up somewhere so that either Claudette Anderson-Prior or Paul Martinez could give regular updates. “The participation of the media in a real emergency is fundamentally important,” said Governor Huckle.
To conclude H. E. the Governor Mr Huckle said that there were three command posts set up around town. Bronze Command was the emergency services – those who were actually carrying out the rescue. Silver Command is set up to co-ordinate those emergency services. Police Chief Superintendent Paul Elliot as well as his deputy, Inspector Len McGill attended Silver Command Post in the FIDF Hall.
Gold Command is Government House, where the media are briefed and where there is liaison with the UK about the incident.
“At the moment, the agents, Sulivan Shipping, have supplied us with a complete passenger list. Aside from the number, we don’t know who was on the tender as yet,” said Governor Huckle.
A quick turn-around was in store for the SAR Helicopter that arrived on the football pitch at approximately 1039hrs, leaving at 1049 hrs.
The process of ferrying injured to the KEMH continued through the morning. This article will be updated when the exercise is complete and the results known.
A 10 minute turn-around for the SAR Helicopter from MPC
The Fire Crew stood by to observe and assist the SAR Helicopter during operations at the football pitch.