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Assessment of the current status of contingency planning, preparedness and response to cases of marine pollution in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

A regional workshop has been organized the on Assessment of the Current Status of Planning, Preparedness and Response to cases of marine pollution  during the period 23-24 June  2009  at PERSGA/EMARSGA in Hurghada, Egypt.
The workshop aimed to assess the performance in the implementation of the program, outlined by "the Regional Plan for the Development of National devices and mechanisms for preparedness and response to cases of oil spills in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden" which was prepared by PERSGA in cooperation with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2005; the workshop also aimed to assess the situation in the light of the current regional and national contingency plans in order to advance the process of implementation, identify the needs and suggestions related to completion of national plans in countries that have not yet prepared such plans,  or the apdating of the existing plans to meet the requirements of the Convention and implementation of regional protocols.
The training team included an expert from IMO (Dr. Lindsay Jones) and from the region (Rear Admiral AD. / Mahmoud Ismail), with 24 participants in the workshop from countries of the region.
The opening session included a welcome speech by the Director of PERSGA/EMARSGA, a review by the workshop coordinator on the role of the Jeddah Convention and regional and national contingency plans, and the importance of the suitability of such plans, their coordination and continuous updating to keep pace with developments on the ground; and implementation of commitments contained in regional and international legislation.
A short film on a pollution incident by default, produced by the Presidency of  Meteorology and Environment was also presented in addition to a lecture on contingency plans and maritime disasters.
The Workshop showed the importance of the Jeddah Convention and the need for cooperation in its implementation with regard to national contingency plans; the Emergency Protocol of 1982 was also discussed together with the role of media and the International Convention on Preparedness, Response and Cooperation in cases of oil pollution in 1990 (OPRC) in crisis management and environmental disasters.
The participants have actively contributed to the workshop by provision of lectures on national plans and their own experiences in their countries, which enriched the workshop and contributed to the exchange of expertise in this area.

The workshop produced several recommendations, notably the organization of workshops for coordination and capacity building in the field of assessment methods of the damage caused by oil pollution, and assessment of oil pollution compensation equivalent to the environmental damage by pollution; and modern techniques for identifying the source of the spilled oil (fingerprint oil) to prove the source of polluters. It has also been proposed to set a working group for emergency and preparedness from all Member States composed of key and reserve individuals in the framework of the Regional Action Plan for Contingency Planning. The workshop also stressed the need to strengthen regional coordination between the Center, the national plans and other government agencies.

Emergency Mutual Aid Center in the Red sea and Gulf of Aden