Sea Alarm in brief
Sea Alarm advances and coordinates professional responses to oiled wildlife contingencies. Working in close collaboration with NGOs, government authorities and the oil and maritime industries, Sea Alarm initiates and facilitates strategic response preparedness activities. Sea Alarm also trains and coordinates a network of European and global wildlife response experts that are ready to respond to an oiled wildlife emergency within hours.
Sea Alarm provides assistance and advice in responses to oiled wildlife incidents (see Sea Alarm Responses Services). It assists local and international response teams to optimize their efforts and help to make the response a success. In the last 10 years, Sea Alarm has provided assistance in a number of oiled wildlife incidents, including the Jessica (Galapagos, 2001), Prestige (Spain, 2002), Tricolor (Belgium, 2003), Estonia (Mystery spill, 2006), MS Server (Norway, 2007), and Volganeft 139 (Russia 2007) spills. Sea Alarm has also assisted in many smaller European incidents by providing advice to local responders and/or mobilizing and coordinating response assistance.
Sea Alarm helps governments, industry and NGOs to be better prepared to respond to oiled wildlife incidents. The best solution is often the development of a response plan. In order to facilitate this process, Sea Alarm provides training, or help to initiate and assist with round table discussions. It has already done this in many European countries, including Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands. Sea Alarm also assisted Belgium in writing a national oiled wildlife response plan.
Sea Alarm’s advocacy has been effective and led to many changes at national and international levels. In Europe, it has encouraged and inspired international processes that are increasingly leading to increased awareness of many stakeholders of the need to prepare for oiled wildlife contingencies. Sea Alarm has developed skills, insight and experience that can be applied on a global scale to enhance wildlife response planning.
Sea Alarm brings stakeholders with different expertise and backgrounds together and leads productive processes, resulting in handbooks and guidelines. For example, Sea Alarm was instrumental in the development and delivery of e.g. IPIECA’s Guide to Oiled Wildlife Response Planning, The Handbook on Oil Impact Assessment, The Handbook on Good Practice for the Rehabilitation of Oiled Birds in the Aftermath of an Oil Spill Incident, and the European Oiled Wildlife Response Plan. Sea Alarm also initiated the development of the central resource website www.oiledwildlife.eu, which it hosts.
Sea Alarm has developed close relationships with key actors in the maritime and oil industries. This enables it to quickly identify international resources that can be mobilized to support a response anywhere in the world. As part of Sea Alarm’s preparedness, it develops Country Wildlife Profiles, which provide immediate access to comprehensive information related to oiled wildlife response preparedness in targeted coastal countries. In case of an incident, this database provides Sea Alarm with instant information regarding the identification of key players and the level of preparedness with national stakeholders.
Everything Sea Alarm does depends on personal contacts and on the networks it is developing. It is also important that key organisations regularly meet each other. To this end Sea Alarm has organised conferences in 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2007, offering a platform for European responders, governments and industry to exchange thoughts on the state of preparedness in Europe, evaluate recent responses, and define emerging priorities. Sea Alarm also manages international expert networks and ensures that information and knowledge is shared. In 2009 Sea Alarm was co-organiser of the 10th International Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference.