The OIL SPILL project strengthened the oil spill response capability in the Baltic Sea Region by alleviating challenges and promoting cooperation in and between all sectors concerned…
The Baltic Sea Region’s (BSR) shallow waters and coastal areas are challenging operational environments for oil spill response. Moreover, the administrative and other procedures are often unclear in these transitional zones and vary between countries. In OIL SPILL, the Ministry of Environment of Estonia led the work to map and survey the current …
Experiences gained in the frame of the OIL SPILL project revealed that maritime simulators, although being a rather novel approach, are considered to be an essential part of the preparation process to tackle real oil spill accidents, and are complementing more traditional tabletop and field-exercises. Feedback from the experts revealed that oil spill related simulator training is really welcomed and should be conducted regularly.
Download or read the fifth and final OIL SPILL Newsletter here. The topics are: OIL SPILL particiption in HELCOM BALEX DELTA exercise …
Coastal oil spill response (OSR) is often an arduous long-term operation, and volunteers can offer authorities valuable help. In OIL SPILL, one aim was to enhance the procedures and practicalities in this collaboration. The Finnish Red Cross led the work dealing with educational activities of non-governmental organizations in cooperation with competent authorities.
As the 3-year OIL SPILL Project is turning to the last phase, the Lithuanian Red Cross proudly states that this Project enhanced not only its understanding of and preparedness to oil spill disasters but also its overall disaster preparedness and national visibility as a potential partner in the disaster response. The participation in OIL SPILL connected the Lithuanian Red Cross with national institutions, such as the Fire and Rescue Department in Klaipėda, as well as the international partners in the Baltic Region.
I was recently following a presentation about a massive oil spill response operation taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. The importance of cooperation was emphasized in this talk. Similarly, the OIL SPILL Project has focused on the importance of good collaboration between various actors related to the oil spill response. For us at Neste, the Sandö port of refuge tabletop exercise last spring was the most beneficial. Neste operates in a high-hazard environment where safety has strategic importance. We want to excel in risk management – and if an incident still happens, the most efficient measures should be in place.
The benefits the Southwest Finland Emergency Services (SWFES) has received while working in the OIL SPILL Project are diverse. One of the biggest is the better cooperation and coordination between the third sector volunteers and authorities in Finland. During the workshops and the Vellamo exercise, we learned a lot from each other. It is important to know how the different organizations work and then find common ground in our joint task. Another example of the highlights is that SWFES was able to exercise in the training pool of XAMK, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, in Kotka. Via this exercise, we received a lot of new knowledge concerning oil spill response work, and we were able to test different kind of equipment in real life with authentic oil. Without external funding, it is difficult to organize this kind of training.
During the OIL SPILL Project, the operational collaboration between WWF Latvia, Coast Guard, Fire Service, and seaports has strenghtened. This has resulted in close cooperation, several practical exercises, material support, and enhanced networks. For instance, various stakeholders were included in the Coast Guard exercises, which is excellent.
We face the same challenges as everyone else in the Baltic Sea archipelago. The protection and decontamination of a large and topographically varied area is demanding, both initially but also over a long period of time. Moreover, several authorities with different jurisdictions are responsible for different parts and different phases of environmental protection in oil spill response. There is often a need for a lot of material, equipment and personnel that are not available locally. These challenges are solved through the greater coordination of national resources, but also within the Nordic countries.