Department of Transport training drill, Exercise Zephyr, to test Dampier’s readiness for an oil spill

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Hampton Harbour in Dampier.
Camera IconHampton Harbour in Dampier. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

The Department of Transport will test out its readiness to respond to a maritime environmental emergency in Dampier as part of an upcoming training exercise Exercise Zephyr.

Exercise Zephyr will run from August 22 to 26 and is part of the department’s role as the hazard management agency for maritime environmental emergencies in WA State waters.

The training drill will be based on the scenario of an oil spill in the Dampier vicinity.

The Department of Transport will partner with Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre on the exercise, with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the Australian oil and gas industry, and many other private and public organisations also offering support.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


DoT executive director of maritime Steve Jenkins said the department will be deploying and co-ordinating vessels, equipment and personnel around the Dampier Archipelago as if a real-life oil spill had occurred.

“An aircraft will also simulate aerial oil dispersant spraying, using only water. Green dye normally used in survival at sea kits and which is not harmful to the environment will be used to simulate oil in the water,” he said.

Mr Jenkins said while Exercise Zephyr was purely a scenario for training purposes, it served a very real and important function.

“If an oil spill did take place in our waters, there would be very real and serious consequences for both human and marine life, so it’s important that we make the scenario as realistic as we can to properly test our emergency response systems and processes,” he said.

“However, we want to let the public know that if they see this activity taking place, which includes low-flying aircraft spraying water into the ocean, there’s no cause for concern.”

Exercise Zephyr activities will take place well clear of areas frequented by recreational and commercial vessels.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails