SYKE and WWF Finland Attend HELCOM’s BALEX DELTA Oil Combating Exercise in 2021

Written by Jorma Rytkönen, The Finnish Environment Institute

Volunteers during the briefing before their efforts to collect oil onshore in Santahamina, Finland, in 2016. (Photo: Jorma Rytkönen).

Next year, Finland will be the host of BALEX DELTA, the largest oil combating exercise in the Baltic Sea area. In August 2021, all HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) member states and EU will gather together to practice joint oil recovery procedures on the Southeast coast of Finland, outside the city of Kotka.

The overall leader of the 2021 exercise is the Finnish Border Guard, which is responsible for the open sea oil combating in Finland. The Finnish Border Guard is also responsible for forming the exercise scenario and defining the particular areas to be trained together. Simultaneously with the open sea oil combating operation, a special coastal exercise will be arranged by the local rescue centers. The local rescue centers are responsible for the oil combating in the shallow coastal area and the archipelago area protecting the coastline.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), jointly with the WWF Finland, has shown its interest to the Finnish rescue centers to participate in the coastal exercise and to have a role within the oiled wildlife rescue teams and other later defined activities to protect the coastline and collect oil in the exercise area. SYKE’s OIL SPILL team and the voluntary organizations plan to form special task forces to conduct some of the planned activities within the BALEX exercise. The rescue centers will host the voluntary troops and take care of the troops’ management, transport, and service during the exercise.

At SYKE, we are looking forward to meeting our colleagues and other OIL SPILL project team members during this event!

In order to get more information on HELCOM’s way to arrange large-scale exercise, please check this address.

The Patrol boat of the Finnish Border Guard towing a special floating tank for recovered oil during the coastal protection exercise in Kotka in 2016 (Russalka Exercise with Russian Oil combating forces) (Photo: Jorma Rytkönen / SYKE)

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