NAS Whidbey schedules oil spill response drill for May 9

Federal and state emergency responders will conduct an oil spill response exercise in Crescent Harbor next week.

The drill will be conducted May 9 by the Navy, Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology off Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s Seaplane Base in Oak Harbor.

The large-scale excercise is designed to test the Navy’s ability to respond to and manage a large spill.

It is part of the Navy’s commitment to protecting Puget Sound, according to a Navy news release.

No oil will be discharged; this will be a simulated accident and response, the Navy said. It will involve personnel operating small and medium boats, and laying out bright orange response booms used in real oil cleanups.

Public impact is not expected but nearby residents and commuters may see response activity on the water and in the air through the morning and early afternoon.

Personnel from all Puget Sound area Navy bases, as well as from Navy Supervisor of Ship Salvage in Calif., U.S. Coast Guard District 13, and aircraft from the Washington State Patrol will participate in the exercise.

The Navy said it routinely conducts response exercises such as this one to meet state oil spill readiness requirements, improve coordination, communication and collaboration with other federal, state and local government agencies during environmental emergencies.

Practicing responses in various situations enhances readiness among Navy installations to respond to actual oil spill incidents.

The exercise also will help the Navy fulfill part of Washington’s oil-spill preparedness requirements.

For more information, contact Curt Hart, communications manager for the state Department of Ecology, at 360-407-6990, or email at


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