UK Coast Guard to Conduct Major Nort Sea Emergency Exercise

Exercise Unicorn, a major maritime exercise to be conducted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) with BP PLC is scheduled to take place in Aberdeen on June 10, 2008.

Exercise Unicorn will test the interaction between the MCA, BERR and the BP oil company and other organizations that provide emergency services around Scotland and in the North Sea. It will test national emergency services preparedness and response measures for a major maritime incident and oil spill in the area, although the incident will be simulated over 125 miles out to sea.

The Exercise will include long distance search and rescue operations and counter pollution activities. The exercise will be conducted in real time throughout the 10th, with only the initial key incidents pre-planned. A series of de-briefings for players, exercise evaluators and exercise directing staff will take place on the 11th in Aberdeen. The search and rescue phase will be coordinated from Her Majesty's Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Aberdeen. An Operations Control Unit and a Marine Response Centre will be set up locally in order to deal with the planning for the pseudo oil recovery at sea in order to interact with the oil company.