POLE STAR Supports HM Coastguard Training Exercise in Scapa Flow

Ship with buoy on deck

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) emergency towing vessel (ETV), IEVOLI BLACK, is carrying out a training exercise in Scapa Flow today, Wednesday 10 July 2024.

Exercise STROMNESS, which involves the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) vessel POLE STAR, is supported by Orkney Islands Council’s Marine Services.

Exercise Controller Paul Tunstall, MCA Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer, Scottish Islands and Northern Ireland, said:

The nature of this exercise is for the IEVOLI BLACK to undertake the tow of a significantly sized ‘disabled’ vessel. As such this provides an enhanced training opportunity for MCA, ETV and NLB personnel and we are grateful for the support of the NLB, Orkney Islands Council Marine Services and the Shetland Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

There are a number of objectives as part of the exercise such as demonstrating the ability to connect to a large vessel; conducting an effective tow thereafter and disconnecting safely and timely.

The exercise will start around 10am and the location will be dependent on tide timings and weather, however it is hoped that it will take place in one of two locations, open water east of South Ronaldsay or west of Hoy.

In the event of an unplanned incident the exercise may be suspended or terminated and the IEVOLI BLACK will remain at short notice to deploy to a real incident at all times throughout the exercise.

The Council’s Head of Marine Services, Transportation and Harbour Master Jim Buck, said:

Given the importance of maritime safety, training exercises such as these are vital to ensure everyone is prepared and well-practised for the challenges which can unfortunately materialise at sea. We are all committed to protecting vessels which get into difficulty, the marine environment and safeguarding the coastline.

Martin Wright, Master on POLE STAR, said:

The Northern Lighthouse Board welcomes the opportunity to participate in this important exercise through the provision of our vessel, POLESTAR and careful planning and coordination with the MCA and other partners.

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Fiona Holmes
Communications Officer
T: 0131 473 3100
E: fiona.holmes@nlb.org.uk
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