Interspill 2018, Europe’s triennial conference for oil spill preparedness and response, included a session, chaired by Sea Alarm’s Saskia Sessions-Puplett, devoted to wildlife issues. The session explored new developments in technology, good practice guidance for oiled wildlife response, and ways to effectively implement wildlife response preparedness through exercises. Speakers in the session included Curt Clumpner from the University of California at Davis, Rich Davi from Exxon Mobil, Adam Grogan from the RSPCA, and Paul Kelway from Sea Alarm.
Paul’s presentation focused on guidelines and recommendations for oiled wildlife response that have been developed as part of the oil industry funded Global Oiled Wildlife Response System (GOWRS) project. A key point from that presentation was a recommendation that the oil industry integrate more dedicated wildlife response exercises into their preparedness efforts, adopting the modular exercises concept developed by the GOWRS project.
The modular concept is designed to encourage oil companies to look at wildlife response within the broad operational picture and to review potential roles of local, national and international actors throughout the entire timeline. The exercise programme, designed to divide different aspects or phases of the response into more easily managed pieces, allows companies to focus on each aspect in depth and in logical order. The companies can then be confident they have assessed and tested the entire process over the course of the module.
Interspill 2018 also provided an opportunity for the GOWRS project’s Industry Advisory Group (IAG) to meet in-person for the first time. A lunch meeting allowed representatives from both the IAG and wildlife response organisations participating in the project to discuss challenges and opportunities in developing effective oiled wildlife response exercises, and future priorities for the industry in working toward establishing oiled wildlife response preparedness into its ongoing spill response preparedness activities.