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2016 Blue Highway Ferry Safety Exercise

  • Release Date:2015-10-02
  • Source:NASC

Danshui River is the largest river system in New Taipei City. Danshui is on its right bank and Bali on its left. A number of tourist attractions line its path, such as Danshui Old Street, fort San Domingo, Customs Service Wharf, Fishermen’s Wharf, Left Bank of Bali, Old Banyan Tree Bunker, Wazaiwei Mangrove Reserve and Shihsanhang Museum of Archeology. Also, the Guangyin Mountain is not far away. All of these make the river tourism and ferries very promising. For the development of river tourism, New Taipei City Government is promoting the “Blue Highway” ferry routes. People are allowed to take river ferries along the river enjoying the tourist attractions along the river. The routes between Danshui and Bali, and between Danshui and Fishermen’s Wharf, there are the most popular routes. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world come here and enjoy the views, and this helps the development of local tourism.
To ensure the safety of tourists, New Taipei City Government organized the accident rescue exercise for the “Blue Highway” at Phase 3 passenger/cargo wharf on Oct 21 2016. The exercise scenario was that a ferry carrying 99 passengers and the crew was cruising at the estuary of Danshui River and suddenly a fire broke out in the engine compartment. The ferry crew sent out a stress signal and led passengers to safety using the onboard addressing system. However, the fire was too strong and started to spread toward the passenger area. The passengers started to panic and push and shove one another and some of them went overboard. The fire department dispatched the “Huwei 1,” a firefighting boat used specifically for water rescue along with several rubber dinghies for rescue. Soon after, nearby ferries and a Coast Guard patrol boat raced to the scene to join the rescue effort. Suddenly, a passenger was found drifting a great distance due to the tidal changes. Therefore, a request was sent to National Airborne Service Corps for helicopter. Upon receiving the request, the Corps followed the standard operation procedure and scrambled a helicopter for rescue. The crew of the participating AS-365 Dolphin, numbered NA-106, checked the weather report and took off for the target area. The drowning passenger was hoisted on board of the Dolphin and later transferred to the waiting medical crew for triage and hospitalization.
The live exercise served to improve the skills of the participating agencies in terms of response to accident and rescue at sea. It helped familiarize themselves with the reporting and coordination in the event of accidents on waters, use the resource, manpower and equipment in and efficient way, improve the overall accident rescue capability, ensure the safety of vessels and people on board and prevent pollutions to the ocean. It was a successful exercise and applauded by the officials and visitors at the scene.