In other circumstances, the whole OIL SPILL project consortium would have spent a couple of days on the southwest coast of Finland and observed and participated in Vellamo, one of the main events and large-scale oil spill response exercises of our Project.
The artificial and controlled oil spill accident was overruled by a real and severe hazard, COVID-19, and, similarly, most other events planned for spring 2020 had to be canceled or postponed. Canceled and postponed were also the recurring words at the online Midterm Meeting, organized in Teams on 11 June 2020, when Project Partners summarized the events thus far.
However, managing the complete reshuffle and rearranging work plans are also great achievements. Moreover, when the Work Package and Group of Activities representatives – Agni Kaldma (Ministry of Environment of Estonia), Jorma Rytkönen (Finnish Environment Institute), Miikka Toivonen (Southwest Finland Emrgency Services), Heta Hyvärinen (Finnish Red Cross), Kadi Kasepõld (Estonian Maritime Academy) and Aleksandrs Pavlovičs (Latvian Maritime Academy) – went through the past activities, the list of accomplishments grew rather impressive.
The big and slightly more spectacular events, such as the exercise in Mērsrags, Konrad, M/S Haveri, and the group meetings, are accompanied by other significant activities. These include, for instance, formulating and translating manuals, making a comparative overview of current procedures, establishing volunteers’ management group and an e-learning platform, writing articles for professional publications, contacting target groups, arranging simulator training – and the list goes on.
As Project Leader Lauri Ojala summarized, the OIL SPILL project has had a good start. Many activities were organized and prepared successfully in the first periods. When the need for alternative working methods became urgent and difficult decisions had to be made, the project members have shown resilience and innovativeness.
Partners have come up with practical plan Bs (or even Cs) and new ways to contribute to the progress of the Project. In the Midterm Meeting, also promising outlines for the future were presented. During the next periods, you will learn about many OIL SPILL workshops, seminars and webinars, publications, smaller-scale exercises, staff exchange, and increased communication within and beyond the consortium. And, especially now, all plans have been drafted with contingencies in mind.