Sea Alarm led a very well-attended training course in Brussels, which was kindly hosted by the European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordinating Centre (ERCC), introducing attendees to the complexities of oiled wildlife response and the importance of detailed planning for such responses.
Originally Sea Alarm offered the course to the Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response that operates under HELCOM RESPONSE. This Group is tasked with coordinating the integration of oiled wildlife response and preparedness at national and regional levels, and the intention of the course was to develop a common basis of understanding of the issues between the Group’s Members.
However, it was decided to announce the course also to Contracting Parties of the Bonn Agreement, the Barcelona Convention and the Bucharest Convention. In addition to participants from 6 HELCOM countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia and Poland) and the HELCOM Secretariat, relevant personnel from the Netherlands, Ireland and France signed up for the event.
In the end 16 participants from 8 countries attended the two-day event. The course consisted of a series of presentations, a table-top exercise and interactive sessions between the participants and trainers.
Apart from the course content (“very useful”, “pragmatic”, “I know more clearly what to do now”), participants found it very helpful to exchange experiences with representatives from other regions, comparing examples, experiences, and potential solutions to problems. Noting the valuable contacts made during the training, the attendees proposed having a similar event each year as a more structured European exchange of knowledge and expertise in this emerging field. Sea Alarm has already delivered this message to meetings of various regional agreements that were held in May and June.
After the event attendees from Estonia and Germany took the opportunity while in Belgium, to visit the Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostende (WRCO) and tour the facility which is known for having a cutting edge design for dealing with large scale oiled wildlife incidents.