THE world’s largest oil spill response organisation will be showcasing some of its specialist aircraft in an exercise over the Solent next week.

Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) will be putting one of its two Boeing 727 aerial dispersant aircraft through its paces on Wednesday.

Flying off the coast of Lee-on-the-Solent, the specially-adapted 727 will be spraying fresh water to simulate the application of dispersant chemicals onto an oil slick.

The Boeing 727 will be joined in the skies by another OSRL plane, a Cessna Navajo PA-31 surveillance aircraft.

The Navajo is used to assess the extent of any oil spill and provide guidance to the larger aircraft.

The planes are permanently based in the UK and are on standby at all times.

Each B727 is fitted with seven 2,200 litre tanks and a powerful pumping system, capable of delivering up to 1,200 litres of dispersant per minute.

OSRL’s chief executive, Robert Limb, said: “During similar exercises in the past we received requests for additional information. With that in mind, we wanted to inform everyone about the event and provide the opportunity to see some of the assets we have in our arsenal for combating an oil spill.

As this is an exercise, only clean water will be released so no dispersant fluids or oil are involved, whatsoever.”

Wednesday’s exercise is due to take place at 7.30pm.

Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) is the largest international industry-funded co-operative. It exists to respond to oil spills wherever in the world they may occur.

It currently employs 300 people across nine locations around the world.