Major Oil and Chemical Protection Exercise to be Carried Out in Norway

Published Jun 2, 2017
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SCOPE 2017 - Wahlstrøm
Project Manager for SCOPE 2017, Stig Wahlstrøm (photo: SCOPE 2017)

The exercise is a joint project between the Nordic countries and co-funded by the European Union. It is being organised by the Norwegian Coastal Administration and will involve over 300 personnel and 30 vessels. It will be one of the largest exercises of its kind in European history.

An increasing level of shipping traffic has led to a growing fear of accidents and an adverse risk picture. The accident involving M/V Full City in July 2009 on the coast of Langesund illustrated the crucial need for preparedness in dealing with accidents across national borders. To meet this aim, the Nordic countries will arrange a joint oil and chemical protection exercise 25-29 September in Langesund. Code-named SCOPE 2017, the project is being organised by the Norwegian Coastal Administration on behalf of the European Commission.

“International cooperation is a key factor to protect and minimise impacts of major accidents and spills. In an effort to ensure that all parties know what to do when an accident happens, it’s vitally important to conduct joint spill exercises in advance, both locally, nationally and internationally. This enables us to test and improve our response strategies and technologies for use in different scenarios and this particular exercise is unique in size, scope and international participation,” says Stig Wahlstrøm, Project Manager for SCOPE 2017. SCOPE 2017 (Skagerrak Chemical Oilspill Pollution Exercise) is a full-scale exercise where all participants will face realistic challenges as a result of a simulated collision between a chemical tanker and an oil tanker. This includes such areas as oil and gas spill response at sea and on land, combating chemical pollution, crisis management, handling of damaged vessels, and evacuation and place of refuge. Representatives from over 70 countries will be invited to observe the exercise.

The exercise has been in the making for several years, and the final preparation details will be concluded when the participants meet for a three-day meeting in Langesund 30th May. Representatives of the EU and all participating organisations will be present.

“If an accident occurs, for example, on the coast of Telemark, our neighboring country can quickly be affected, so for this reason the EU provides support. The SCOPE 2017 project shall also strengthen collaboration between the regional readiness services, and make the best possible use of resources, services and guidelines offered through the EU. Also, we cooperate closely with the Swedish Coast Guard, the Royal Danish Navy and the Environmental Directorate in Iceland,” adds Wahlstrøm.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration has project responsibility for the exercise, and the South-East Police District, Norway and the Intermunicipal Emergency Response Organisation (IUA) in Telemark are also national partners. All participating organisations have an unique opportunity to train in leadership and collaboration, during the simulation of a serious vessel accident.

“Norway is a partner in the international work and cooperation for protecting the marine environment through several international agreements. Norway’s commitment in these agreements are administered by the Norwegian Coastal Administration and, in the case of an acute pollution, we are responsible for coordinating national preparedness so that environmental impacts are minimised,” explains Wahlstrøm and emphasises, “Good coordination across neighboring countries and various organisations is essential to respond swiftly and capably. SCOPE 2017 is a good opportunity for us all to test and improve our strategies and practices to raise the overall level of safety in our waters.”

Tags: Norwegian Coastal Administration, SCOPE 2017


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