A PASSENGER vessel will “sink” and a container ship will “catch fire” off the coast of Harwich.

That’s the nightmare scenario set to be created to test Essex’s emergency services

in a training exercise.

The event, called Exercise Adler 4, is led by Harwich Haven Authority and the Essex Resilience Forum and will take place on Monday, at Harwich Harbour from 8am to 6pm.

The purpose of the exercise is to test all aspects of the response by emergency services and other agencies to such an incident.

As hundreds of responders are involved, organisers are reassuring Harwich residents, businesses and visitors the incident is simulated and not real.

Neil Glendinning, chief executive at Harwich Haven Authority, said: “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.

“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.” Aspects being tested include marine firefighting and 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.

Exercise Adler 4 will be conducted at the highest ministerial level.

Numerous agencies are involved including Harwich Haven Authority, the multi-agency partners of the Essex Resilience Forum, which includes emergency services and organisations from the voluntary and private sectors.