Phase two of the Global Oiled Wildlife Response System (GOWRS) project recently kicked off in Belgium providing another two years in which to further the objective of developing and improving international cooperation and preparedness for oiled wildlife incidents.
Training has always been an important component of Sea Alarm’s work, and in the last few years, the organisation has concentrated on assisting wildlife responders, governments and industry with developing their skills and knowledge in a variety of training formats.
In January, Sea Alarm visited the International Tanker Owners Oil Pollution Federation (ITOPF) in London for a full day of oiled wildlife response discussions with the members of ITOPF’s team.
In September, Sea Alarm was invited to participate in a major table-top oil spill exercise in Tarragona, Spain organized by Shell. The exercise, named Medspan, involved 120 members of Shell’s Oil Spill Expertise Centre (OSEC) as well as personnel from Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), Spill Consult, International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), and Sea Alarm.
A very productive three-day meeting of representatives from leading European wildlife response organisations included review of the response management guidelines that Sea Alarm helped to produce. Experts from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Spain, The Republic of Ireland, and the Netherlands attended the meeting, as well as observers from ITOPF and OSRL.
As part of a multi-year contract with Rijkswaterstaat, Sea Alarm designed, prepared and facilitated a two-day exercise event, held in October 2013 in ‘s-Gravezande, the Netherlands, which included three field and two table-top exercises.
ITOPF is one of Sea Alarm’s key partners and the two organisations have been cooperating for over a decade now, both when responding to oil spills and also in some wildlife preparedness activities. A presentation day was held at ITOPF’s offices in London in October, to strengthen this relationship and bring some of ITOPF’s newer staff up to speed with Sea Alarm’s work.
ITOPF has launched a new new oil spill response R&D initiative, funded by the world’s shipowners and their P&I insurers. The ITOPF R&D Award will provide some £50,000 each year to encourage innovative thinking and provide realistic solutions to some of the challenges faced when responding to accidental oil and chemical spills and undertaking environmental monitoring.