An environmental disaster was averted and a life saved when emergency services descended on Port Kembla during a mock training exercise on Friday.
The full-scale disaster was designed to put crews to the test to ensure that, when and if a disaster does happen, the community are kept safe.
The last time the port experienced such an emergency was five years ago when flames erupted in the cargo hold of the Iron Chieftain as crews were unloading dolomite at Port Kembla Harbour.
On Friday, crews were kept in the dark about what the 'emergency' was until they were deployed to the port.
The emergency - bilge water escaping from a grain ship and flowing into the harbour prompting an immediate environment risk. Minutes later a crew member on board the ship fell, sustaining a head injury, and had to be evacuated out for medical treatment.
Firefighters and paramedics worked alongside the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Port Authority of NSW, NSW Ports, tug company Svitzer and GrainCorp.
There's around 1850 ship movements in the port each year, and any emergency has the ability to impact life, the environment and the economy.
Port Authority harbour master Port Kembla and South Coast, Sharad Bhasin, said training ensures crews are in the best position to protect people and the environment during a real emergency.
"Everyone involved is highly trained and will play a critical role if an incident ever occurs. These are frontline responders whose collective action are instrumental in a successful incident response," he said.
Port Kembla is a key economic driver for the Illawarra and NSW - contributing $2.9 billion to the state's economy each year and supporting about 10,000 jobs.
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