October 12th, a large-scale international exercise took place on the North Sea in which various coast guard partners as well as the coast guard secretariat took part. As much as 500 persons worked together to pull this exercise off. The scenario involved a fire outbreak on board a ferry carrying more than 200 passengers.
The perfect opportunity for several Maritime Incident Response Groups (MIRG) to put their training into practice. A MIRG team is made up of firefighters who are specifically trained to intervene quickly in the event of a distress situation on a ship in the high seas. Their main task is to avoid mass-evacuations. Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and France all have MIRG teams, and they all participated to the exercise.