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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 11:57 GMT
Sea exercise set to test response
An exercise to test the joint search and rescue operations that would be needed in a major maritime incident in the English Channel is to be held.

The British, French and Belgian maritime authorities will be among those involved in Monday's exercise.

The scenario, co-ordinated by Dover Coastguard, will focus on a Mayday call made by a ferry reporting a collision with an unidentified object.

As a result, a spillage occurs from a lorry trailer carrying dangerous goods.

'Test personnel'

A Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) from Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the South East Coast Ambulance Service will be deployed onto the Maersk Dover ferry.

The exercise, in the Dover Strait, is due to start at 0940 GMT on Monday while the ferry is travelling from Dover to Dunkirk.

Spike Hughes, rescue co-ordination centre manager at Dover Coastguard, said the use of the ferry would make the exercise "as realistic as possible".

"It is extremely important that all the agencies that are involved in a live incident get the opportunity to test their personnel and procedures to ensure they are as prepared as they can be for any eventuality," he explained.


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