Maritime authorities managed to ‘prevent’ a discharge of petroleum reaching Faro Island in the Ria Formosa in a recent simulated anti-pollution exercise.
The exercise reached its high point during the morning when authorities simulated the fight against a crude oil spill on the Algarve coast. The wind and currents meant that the spill was ‘threatening’ to penetrate the São Luís barrier, a small canal located between Faro Island and an area of wasteland. If a real spill reached the heart of the river it would jeopardise natural resources, fishing waters and tourist areas of the Algarve. But, as scripted, the marine units, bombeiros and civil protection agencies ‘prevented’ the disaster and the official responsible, Pericão de Almeida, head of the anti-pollution service in the Southern Maritime Department, hailed the operation as a success.
Allowing local maritime units to practise their skills in containing a potentially devastating oil spill is vital, as large oil tankers pass the port of Faro, to the east of the Ria Formosa, and cross the São Luís barrier almost daily.