Guernsey’s Emergency Ambulance Service, the Flying Christine III and the St John Volunteer Ambulance Reserve have taken part in a major incident exercise at St Peter Port harbour.

Exercise Bluefin, which involved involved all blue light services, Guernsey Harbours, RNLI, Civil Protection and the  Salvation Army and St John, tested emergency preparedness, resilience and response  plans for a mass abandonment of a visiting cruise ship and saw principles of joint working and joint decision making put into practice.

In the exercise the passenger boat Sark Venture posed as a stricken cruise ship and scenario was that a fire had started in a cabin and initial attempts to contain the fire had been unsuccessful, meaning the whole boat had to be evacuated.The St John marine ambulance Flying Christine III, the St Peter Port lifeboat Spirit of Guernsey, and the Sea Fisheries patrol vessel Leopardess were all involved in transferring the passangers to the harbour, with the Flying Christine responsible for the injured casualties.

More than fify people who had been aboard the boat were taken to ro-ro ramp where they were triaged and survivor clearance operations  were carried out.Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp said: The excercise went very well. It was good to see different agencies working together with a joint plan to save lives. To deal with an emergency you need to have a good and solid planand it must be tested so it can be reviewed and amended accordingly. There’s nothing like doing it in practice to build resilience.”The scenario was based on a case study of the cruise ship Star Princess, which caught fire in 2006 with 2,690 passengers and 1123 crew on-board, while sailing to Jamaica from Grand Cayman.

Posted: November 9, 2022