In April 2005, NOAA and several partners conducted an emergency response drill in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The drill scenario involved a hypothetical grounding at Elbow Reef, off Key Largo, of the M/V Portsmith Trader, an 800-foot cargo vessel carrying 270,000 gallons of fuel. In the scenario, the grounding injured coral reef habitat and submerged historical artifacts, and an oil spill threatened other resources.
The Safe Sanctuaries drill tested the capabilities of several NOAA programs, and included participation from the U.S. Coast Guard (the lead federal agency in the event of an actual incident) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The drill took place from Tuesday, April 19 through Thursday, April 21, 2005.
NOAA's Ocean Media Center in Seattle, Wash., created a video of the activities conducted by NOAA scientists and their colleagues during this drill.