The scenario for the SCOPE 2017 exercise later this month includes a very large oil spill and release of hazardous noxious substances. A key aim of the exercise is to strengthen collaboration between the signatories to international agreements through the implementation of the notification measures.
“This incident is the background for international notification according to the Copenhagen Agreement and the Bonn Agreement that was initiated this week. Also, it was necessary for the extensive mobilisation of national and international oil spill response resources and expertise, including the activation of EU experts,” said Ole Kristian Bjerkemo, the task manager for this part of the exercise
Explaining the procedure, Bjerkemo said the duty team at the Norwegian Coastal Administration initiated the international notification early Monday morning on the 4th of September.
“A Pollution Warning (POLWARN) was sent to Vardø Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) for uploading to the SafeSeaNet (SSN) system and submitted to Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland in accordance with the Copenhagen Agreement.”
“Later on Monday, a Pollution Information message was submitted through SSN in accordance with the Copenhagen Agreement and the Bonn Agreement. The POLINF included more information about the incident.”
He added, “Wednesday morning, it was decided to send out a request for international assistance, using the EU tool CECIS. All of the signatories to the Copenhagen Agreement and the Bonn Agreement were requested to provide assistance. The request included, among other things, surveillance aircrafts, oil spill response vessels, booms, skimmers and experts.”
Several hours after the request for assistance was submitted, Bjerkemo commented: “At this stage of the exercise we have already identified several aspects that can be improved. This relates to, among other things,internal procedures, weakness in the tools we have to use (SSN and CECIS) and the need for training. Also, this seems to be an issue for most of the countries involved.”
A workshop will be held on the 25th September where all of the involved countries and EU are invited to share experiences from the exercise.
“The workshop will be important to have a more complete picture of the lessons identified during this part of SCOPE 2017 exercise. The plan is to develop a report from the workshop, which also will include proposed follow up actions,” Said Bjerkemo.