Written by Samuel Andersson, Östra Götaland Fire and Rescue Service
This autumn, Östra Götaland Fire and Rescue Service has been planning a national oil protection conference with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, Coast Guard, Swedish Maritime Administration, County Administrative Boards, and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. The conference will take place digitally this week, on the 26th and 27th of November. The focus is especially on the changes in the risks in the Baltic Sea, costs of the environmental damage, and places of refuge.
Sweden has a crisis system and contingency that is generally based on the principle of respective municipalities’ and regions’ geographical responsibility. Östra Götaland Fire and Rescue Service will be one of the two participants that represent the municipal perspective in the conference. It is an essential contribution as the other authorities have a national and regional responsibility. Indeed, it is always the municipalities that are first affected by a major oil spill. Being part of this national collaboration group with many authorities results in increased knowledge and experience in oil damage protection, from the local to the national level.
However, participation in the OIL SPILL project has provided us an additional dimension. We have come to know how the preparedness and organization of oil damage protection are arranged in other Baltic Sea Region countries, and whether some aspects could be applied in Sweden – or vice versa. For example, it is very interesting to compare the knowledge and changes in the risk scenarios due to different types of oil products (e.g., bio-oils) in the different countries and how preparedness should be adapted. Will the increase of bio-oils mean that we need to develop new, improved methods for taking care of oil spills in the shoreline due to its sticky quality? This is only one example of the questions that are more effectively solved when contemplated together. Likewise, it will be interesting to share the new information and knowledge we attain from the national conference with our OIL SPILL Project Partners.