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‘On-Scene Commanders’ at oil spills, national contingency plans and oil spill preparedness and response

Article IX of the Jeddah Convention (1982) stresses on cooperation in dealing with emergency cases of pollution; Similar emphasis came in the Second Article of the Protocol concerning Regional Cooperation in Combating Pollution by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in cases of emergency (1982). The Regional Action Plan on Contingency Planning (paragraph 18-6) also included necessary measures to be taken, including measures to ensure the availability of adequate equipment and staff to deal with emergency cases of pollution in the Red Sea, and to reduce or eliminate the damage caused.
Within these terms, PERSGA is trying constantly to build capacity in this aspect, and this is one of the objectives of establishing the PERSGA/EMARSGA  in accordance with the Emergency Protocol of 1982.
As part of the Annual Training Program for 2009, PERSGA organized a regional training course on “‘On-Scene Commanders’ at oil spills, national contingency plans and oil spill preparedness and response” at PERSGA/EMARSGA  in Hurghada during 20-22 June 2009. This workshop is the third of its kind within PERSGA programme during the past three years; This series of workshops is designed to stimulate the capacity of States and raise the overall performance of the national focal points at regional level regarding the implementation of contingency plans through the identification of basic needs, plans for implementation mechanism, clarification of the role of the PERSGA/EMARSGA  during marine emergency accidents, implementation of periodical practical training on communicate in cases of marine accidents, and training on the use of computer models to track and combat oil pollution.
The workshop was attended by 27 specialists from the PERSGA member countries belonging to government and private sectors. The workshop was lead by an IMO expert in the field of contingency plans and  oil pollution control (Dr. Lindsey Paige Jones).
The Training program included a series of theoretical and technical lectures on field leadership for contingency planning, preparedness and response which focused on the following topics:

  • The concept of response ranging;
  • Emergency plan, strategic planning, operational plans and incident management;
  • Behavior and fate of spilled oil and the effective use of trajectory model;
  • Strategies, methods and techniques to address oil spills;
  • Evaluation of  aerial monitoring;
  • Investigation of Maritime Accidents and beach survey;
  • Availability and use of relevant technical documents and reference materials;
  • Case studies for the use of dispersants in the region;
  • Protection of sensitive coastal locations;
  • Beach clean-up techniques and management of logistics operations;
  • Waste management, transport, storage and disposal.

The workshop programme also included practical training of participants through an exercise dealing with a default pollution incident by a ship in the Red Sea; the participants were divided into groups and distributed in different locations, and means of communication were used for the management of the default incident, then the experience evaluation and correction of errors were reviewed.

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