Sea Alarm provides training and helps initiate and assist with round table discussions on response plan development. Over time, the team has developed skills, insight and experience that can be applied on a global scale to enhance wildlife response planning.
The success of any response to an oiled wildlife incident is strongly dependent upon the ability of national parties, such as the oil spill response authorities, the wildlife response authorities, wildlife responders and scientific institutes, to cooperate with one another under stressful circumstances.
The importance of pre-spill planning
Pre-spill planning is the best guarantee that the objectives and strategies are clear, and that an identified management team can quickly mount an effective response with the necessary resources.
For the relevant parties to cooperate successfully, certain elements need to be in place, including agreed objectives, an agreed strategy, and an agreed organizational structure in which all key responders fit in. Although these elements can be put in place in the immediate aftermath of an incident, there are potential risks to this approach. For example, it may not be possible to arrange meetings in which all parties can participate, or participants of a meeting may not be able to reach an agreement on key issues, or nobody dares to take the responsibility for the decisions that need to be taken, or something else may not work.
Sea Alarm has already facilitated wildlife response discussions and planning processes for many European countries, including Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands. It has assisted Belgium in writing its national oiled wildlife response plan, and advices an increasing number of oil companies on their corporate or in-country oiled wildlife planning and preparedness.
Being independent and impartial, Sea Alarm has developed unique qualities to assist national parties and industry with the planning process.
A national or subnational oiled wildlife response plan is best developed as a process in which all key stakeholders (governmental agencies, ministries, NGOs, industry, local communities) are involved. The process could include a series of meetings in which the main issues are discussed and in which all stakeholders bring forward their ideas and response capabilities. A constructive atmosphere is needed in order to arrive at the best possible result. Training and exercises often allow to draw the attention to the common ground that all parties will recognise, and from where they can start discussing how they can move forward together.
In many countries, not only in Europe, Sea Alarm has acted as a moderator in starting discussions between key actors, design a road map for the process ahead, assist with the development of a response plan, and providing training to key officers and organisations.
Although there are many generic elements, there is no blueprint for the planning process that can simply be copied from one country to another. In each country, the starting point is different. Some countries may already have experienced an oiled wildlife incident and know exactly which problems occurred previously.
In other countries key responders may have difficulty working together because of existing animosities. Other countries may be lacking the experience, facilities or resources to mount an oiled wildlife response.
A blueprint oiled wildlife response plan is also difficult to provide, although the issues and options have a generic character. Each country has its own unique emergency response infrastructure. In some countries the key responsibilities for oil spill response and wildlife issues are distributed over a large number of administrative levels, making the planning process a complicated undertaking. In other countries only a few ministries and a handful of organisations are involved, allowing relatively simple and straightforward solutions.
As an impartial outsider, Sea Alarm has the ability to moderate meetings between different stakeholders to define the common grounds for a contingency plan on the basis of which they can cooperate in oil spill incidents.
Alternatively, Sea Alarm can provide training to key individuals who are dedicated or charged with the task to lead the planning process in their country.
With its European partners, and with EU or industry co-financing, Sea Alarm has developed a wide array of training courses and guiding documents that can be provided.
Sea Alarm is a reliable partner for industry to develop an adequate level of preparedness for oiled wildlife response, e.g by assisting with the development of dedicated oiled wildlife response plans, providing training for oil spill response managers or hands-on responders, or assisting with the integration of wildlife aspects in oil spill exercises.
Over the years we have assisted a large number of companies in their aim to develop preparedness in different countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
With colleague organisations and in consultation with our clients, Sea Alarm has developed a large portfolio of training courses (ICS managers, wildlife response managers, first responders), field and tabletop exercises and state of the art wildlife response plans. With its unique experience working with Governments, Industry and NGOs, Sea Alarm is able to bridge gaps, moderate processes and solve problems, so that preparedness can really build upon the strengths that each of these parties can bring to the table.
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