Falklands : FALKLANDS EMERGENCY SERVICES “CAN DO” DURING ANNUAL EXERCISE
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 08.10.2011 (Article Archived on 22.10.2011)
An annual exercise to hone skills of the emergency services of both the Military and the Civilian population were put to the test on Friday when a difficult scenario unfolded at 0845hrs on the day.
FALKLANDS EMERGENCY SERVICES “CAN DO” DURING ANNUAL EXERCISE
By J. Brock (FINN)
An annual exercise to hone skills of the emergency services of both the Military and the Civilian population were put to the test on Friday when a difficult scenario unfolded at 0845hrs on the day. The lengthy participation by both sides began at 0700hrs Military personnel were picked up and transported to FIPASS.
Several roles were carried out by the personnel and one FIG staff member consisting of 6 dead bodies, one orphaned 15 year old girl and 3 casualties.
In its dual role of cruise vessel “ROSIATA” and cargo vessel, “BIRDWOOD BANK,” M/V PROTAGAT was in position in Port William and the scenario began.
The cruise vessel ROSAITA with 218 passengers and 104 crew, heading into Port William, collided with the cargo vessel BIRDWOOD BANK, with 24 crew, heading out of Port William. The collision occurred because the M/V BIRDWOOD BANK had steering problems that caused the vessel to veer off course. Both vessels were damaged and the collision caused an explosion and fire.
There was a smoke machine aboard the M/V PROTAGAT that simulated fires on both ships
The BIRDWOOD BANK reported to the Harbour Master that she was taking on water and the ROSIATA reported several casualties. The situation report stated that the explosion aboard ROSAITA caused the fire which was now under control by the ship’s crew but that the casualties – injuries – drained the limited medical resources aboard the vessel and immediate medical assistance was needed. Further to this a 15-year old girl was orphaned when her parents died in the collision.
In response to the emergency Silver Command was set up at the FIDF. Silver Command co-ordinated the rescue by assigning the manpower and equipment of emergency services both civilian and military. Bronze Command, set up in the KEMH, ably treated the injured people and provided a Doctor and 2 Paramedic Nurses for the Search and Rescue Helicopter Flight that evacuated the more seriously wounded. The medical team also dealt with the three dead on behalf of the Coroner. A portable Triage Unit was set up at an undisclosed location so that the walking wounded could receive treatment before going to the KEMH for further assessment and treatment. The launch that helped to evacuate injured passengers and crew from the ROSIATA also transported the orphaned girl to Triage and ultimately to the KEMH.
BIRDWOOD BANK reported a fire and requested assistance from the Fire and Rescue Service. Members of the service attended with breathing apparatus to search through smoke in the hold looking for three trapped crew. They subsequently were found dead. The Royal Falkland Islands Police Attended and CSI did its work on behalf of the Coroner.
An oil spill was dealt with by the Harbour Master whose advice was to let it dissipate as it was light marine oil and there was only a small amount that had been spilled into the water.
Due to steering problems M/V BIRDWOOD BANK ran aground adjacent to the minefield at Mongary Point. All crew were evacuated by sea.
Gold command was set up at government House to deal with the different nationalities that were involved in the incident. Fictitious countries like Calpinea, Marrop and Ruritania had to be contacted so their citizens could be repatriated.
Thanks to the professional organisation of the exercise people in town were not aware of anything unusual. There were no loud bangs or sirens and all kept to the speed limit.