A LIVE maritime exercise has tested emergency services responses as part of a large-scale drill.

Exercise Adler 4 simulated a sinking cruise ship and a fire on a container vessel in Harwich to test the response.

The event was led by Harwich Haven Authority and supported by the Essex Resilience Forum.

It tested all aspects of the response by the emergency services through the dual maritime incident.

Marine firefighting, search and rescue, mass landing of casualties at Harwich, co-ordinating systems for media, survivors and their friends and family, and the command and control processes were all assessed.

Neil Glendinning, chief executive at Harwich Haven Authority, said: “As with all emergency planning exercises, it’s the job of organisations that provide safety-critical services to think hard about anything that could go wrong, to develop plans to deal with any such incident and then to exercise those plans to make sure that they work.

“That is exactly what we are doing with Exercise Adler 4.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the planning of Exercise Adler 4, which has been a huge task for the authority but also for all of the agencies taking part.”

Harwich Haven Authority has previously conducted a series of exercises under the Adler programme which looked to test responses to maritime and pollution incidents.

Ian Davidson, chief executive at Tendring Council, said: “We are delighted with the level of involvement in this exercise, from right across the public and voluntary sector and also from partners such as the ports.

“It is pleasing to hear of spin-off exercises and training developing out of Exercise Adler 4. Even ahead of the exercise much has been achieved in improving and furthering our preparedness just by organising the Adler 4, and I am in no doubt that will continue after the debrief and for years to come.”

Numerous emergency services and organisations from the voluntary and private sector were involved in the exercise including the Environment Agency, NHS England, rail operators,British Red Cross and Highways England.