Norway’s Crown Prince to witness major spill response exercise

On Tuesday 26 September a major oil and chemical protection exercise called SCOPE 2017 will be carried out in Langesund, Norway. H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon will join the Coastal Administration, both on sea and shore, to witness the spill response first hand. The exercise is a joint project including major Scandinavian and European stakeholders, and will demonstrate how the Coastal Administration engages with them in the event of acute pollution.

Coastal Director Kirsti L. Slotsvik and Contingency Director Johan Marius Ly look forward to showing H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon how the Coastal Administration trains and handles oil and chemical pollution protection along the Norwegian coast – this time in connection with SCOPE 2017, which is supported by EU.

This exercise, organised by the Coastal Administration, will be conducted 25–27 September, and involve around 500 participants from the Nordic countries. Also, the worst-case scenario will involve vessels, personnel and equipment from many parts of Europe. Representatives from over 70 countries have been invited to observe the exercise.

Response exercise on all levels

The SCOPE 2017 exercise will involve local contingency forces and personnel who were active during the Full City accident that occurred in the same area in July 2009. Telemark’s Intermunicipal Emergency Response Organisation (IUA) will have a deputy function on shore, while Vestfold’s IUA will also participate in the exercise.

On 26 September, H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon will observe the Norwegian contingency forces  and witness how they respond and cooperate on all levels, including coordination between  the Coastal Administration’s operational management and the national, regional and  municipal participants.

“I greatly appreciate that the Crown Prince accepted my invitation, and thus will experience the important work being done to strengthen the emergency response to acute pollution along our entire coast,” says Coastal Director Kirsti L. Slotsvik.

Minister of Transport to attend SCOPE 2017

The Crown Prince will be guided by the Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Minister of Transport, Ketil Solvik-Olsen.

The simulated exercise will commence at sea, where a major chemical tanker will collide with a product tanker. This will lead to chemical and oil spill pollution on a scale much greater than Norway has previously dealt with. As a consequence, there will be a need for assistance from Norway’s neighbouring countries, with whom they have cooperation agreements.

International cooperation requires practice

“With increased shipping traffic, the risk of accidents also increases, so we need to practice different scenarios. The international dimension of the exercise is also very important. Both during the Full City grounding in 2009 and the Godafoss accident in 2011, we needed assistance from Sweden. Norway and the other countries participating in this exercise will all be dependent on good cooperation across borders, should such an accident occur in our common waters,” emphasises Contingency Director Johan Marius Ly.

Increasing ship traffic

Over the past year, 359 vessels over 50 metres in length passed the strait between Stathelle and Sandøya and, during 2016, 4,524 ships passed through the waters. From January to June of this year, 2,408 vessels passed, according to the Coastal Administration’s analysis unit in Vardø. Based on this development, Contingency Director Ly believes the exercise location off Langesund is relevant and important.

“It will be a full-scale exercise and will take place both in daylight and during night time, and will therefore be very realistic for all involved,” he says.

Program for the day

The Crown Prince will arrive at Langesund on the morning of 26 September, and will then go directly to the Coast Guard’s vessel KV Bergen.

When at sea, he will observe specially trained firefighters from Oslo and Bergen who will be deployed to the Swedish chemical safety vessel KBV 003 by helicopter or vessel. From there, they will go onboard a smaller boat and enter the chemical tanker to seal leakages, allow for towing the vessel to shore, and prevent oil spill at sea and along the coast. This will continue throughout the day.

At 0740, the press will go onboard the Coastal Administration’s vessel at Dampskipskaia/Langesund pilot station, and will experience the same exercise as witnessed by the Crown Prince.  The plan is to arrive back at the dock of the pilot station at about 1130. From here it is a short distance (about 300m) to Smietangen where a press briefing will take place  1200.

At 1200, the Crown Prince and his attendants will arrive at Smietangen quay, where boats are equipped with various types of oil spill containment equipment.  Contingency Director Ly will hold a presentation for those attending.

Questions from the press can be directed to Contingency Director Johan Marius Ly, Coastal Director Kirsti L. Slotsvik and Minister of Transport and Communications Ketil Solvik-Olsen

At about 1230 we will move on to Krogshavn recreational area, where the Coastal Administration’s Environment Advisor Hilde Dolva and IUA Telemark’s Jan O. Kristoffersen will share experiences in connection with the Full City accident, and demonstrate the current means  to break up and collect spills.

The arrangement at Krogshavn will end at about 1300.

  • Updated images will be made available to the media here
  • Theme pages about the SCOPE 2017 exercise here

For safety reasons, the Coastal Administration requires the names of the journalists who wish to attend by latest 11:00 on 20 September. There is limited space so if the interest is greater than that we have capacity for, we will need to prioritize. Those who are unable to join the exercise will be informed by 22 September.

Registration queries should be addressed to the Coastal Administration, attention: marianne.henriksen@kystverket.no.

Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / Det kongelige hoff.
Photo of vessels: Espen Reite
Collage: Marianne Henriksen

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