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In memoriam: Alessandro Barisich

It is with great sadness that we learned that our former chairman, Alessandro Barisich, passed away on January 20th after an illness.

Alessandro accepted the role of Sea Alarm Chairman in 2001 when the future of the organisation was all but secure. Having been the head of the Civil Protection Unit of the European Commission, he brought to Sea Alarm a thorough knowledge of international cooperation between European States in the field of pollution prevention, preparedness and response. The main challenge for Sea Alarm at that time was finding structural funding to secure its continued existence. The issue of oiled wildlife response however was not well recognised in Europe and Alessandro often felt frustrated that his efforts to inspire his European connections were unsuccessful. It simply was too early for that.

In the early aftermath of the Tricolor incident, as Sea Alarm chairman Alessandro was invited to the crisis meeting of the Belgian authorities and ensured our involvement in the wildlife response. With hindsight, that involvement gave a huge impetus to Sea Alarm’s maturation and sowed the seed for its present success. Not long after Alessandro stepped down as a chairman at the end of his term in October 2004, Sea Alarm started its cooperation with Oil Spill Response, which Alessandro was very pleased to see.

We remember Alessandro as a cheerful, warm and compassionate chairman who was always prepared to do whatever he could to assist the organisation and are thankful for his friendship and optimism that helped us to continue. We wish his wife, children and grandchildren strength to bear the loss of their husband, father and grandfather.

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