The first half of the year has been promising for the recognition of oiled wildlife preparedness and response as a priority in Europe. In May, Sea Alarm participated in important meetings organised by the Bonn Agreement and REMPEC where this topic was raised.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conferences everywhere are being cancelled, however, the Arctic Preparedness Platform for Oil Spill and Other Environmental Accidents (APP4SEA) elected to hold a Twitter conference, at which Sea Alarm was an invited participant.
In cooperation with the Swedish Coast Guard, Sea Alarm facilitated the use of the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) by the Contracting Parties of the Bonn Agreement.
How prepared are we for oiled wildlife response?
This is a question regularly considered by the HELCOM Response (Baltic Sea Area) Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWR-OWR), chaired by Sea Alarm.
To help with making an accurate assessment of their level of preparedness, the Working Group decided to develop a self-assessment tool to aid countries in gauging and reporting on their progress toward preparedness for response to oiled wildlife.
The Bonn Agreement Secretariat has sent a questionnaire to all the Contracting Parties of the Agreement in order to collect information on current practices with regards to oiled wildlife response and preparedness. This was an action that was agreed in last year’s meeting of OTSOPA, the technical working group of the Agreement.
Sea Alarm’s Hugo Nijkamp was present at the OTSOPA meeting, held in Rotterdam from 26-28 May. He reported on recent developments in the European scene of oiled wildlife response and preparedness, including the EMPOWER initiative, the decision by Helcom Response to include oiled wildlife response in the Response Manual, and the upcoming Effects of Oil on Wildlife (EOW) Conference. OTSOPA is the technical committee of the Bonn Agreement, the regional agreement for mutual oil pollution response cooperation between coastal states in the North East Atlantic.
Following this presentation, OTSOPA decided to include a chapter on oiled wildlife response in the Bonn Agreement Counter-Pollution Manual, which is a significant step towards the further recognition of integrated oiled wildlife response.
Sea Alarm gave a presentation to OTSOPA Contracting Parties on its work in Europe and its cooperation with OSRL/EARL. OTSOPA is the technical working group under the Bonn Agreement, the regional cooperation on oil spill prevention, response and mutual assistance for the North Sea and the North East Atlantic.