A Regional workshop was organized by the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, PERSGA, in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the subject of OPRC (Contingency Planning and HNS) between Monday 8th and Wednesday 10th June 2015. The workshop took place at the Emergency Mutual Aid in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (EMARSGA) Centre, Hurghada, Egypt with 15 participants from four of the seven member countries of the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, PERSGA, namely Djibouti, Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sudan. Attendees from Jordan, Somalia and the Yemen were unable to participate.The principle objective of the workshop was to enhance the awareness, capacity and capability of the members of PERSGA in contingency planning and the response to Oil and HNS incidents in order to assist the participants to move towards the ratification, implementation and enforcement of both OPRC and the OPRC-HNS Protocol, 2000.
It also aimed to raise participants’ awareness of the unique issues, considerations and challenges that must be taken into consideration in preparing for and responding to pollution incidents involving oil and hazardous and noxious substances (HNS).The workshop was delivered by two international facilitators with significant experience in marine oil and HNS spill preparedness and response including the response to HNS incidents, Joe Small of Gorton Consultancy Limited and Dr Ken McDonald, recently retired from IMO.
The workshop was given in English language, while Dr. Salim Al-Moghrabi, Environmental Expert at PERSGA and the co-ordinator of this workshop provided Arabic translation to key issues presented by the consultants. Eng. Islam Taha, IT Manager at PERSGA gave a presentation about CAMEO software that helps in modelling for Chemical spills. Mr. Murat Korcak, IMO representative gave a presentation about risk assessment.The workshop programme contained a series of technical presentations on the various aspects of OPRC and OPRC-HNS preparedness and response based on the IMO OPRC HNS Model Course at the Managerial Level, combined with a number of case studies.In group discussion the feedback received from the participants was that this was a very useful initial overview of marine HNS spills and would assist in the development of preparedness and response. It was noted that there is, as yet, very little in the way of formal marine HNS spill contingency planning with the exception of the initiative being undertaken by Egypt. However there exists both national and regional marine oil spill contingency planning under the co-ordination of PERSGA. It would appear feasible to build on this structure and to extend it to include HNS spills.The following recommendations were therefore made by the workshop:
.1 Highlight to all PERSGA member States the importance of considering the ratification of the OPRC-HNS Protocol 2000 for incident response;
.2 Highlight to all PERSGA member States the importance of considering the ratification of the 2010 HNS Convention for compensation and liability;
.3 A risk assessment into the volumes and types of HNS products being transported at sea at both regional and national levels be undertaken;
.4 An assessment be carried out into the feasibility of extending the current regional oil spill response plan to include HNS products;
.5 A draft national marine HNS spill contingency plan be developed to assist countries in either extending their current marine oil spill response contingency plan or creating a new, stand-alone, marine HNS spill response contingency plan, drawing upon existing national HNS plans available elsewhere in the world;
.6 The development of recommended minimum levels of HNS response equipment, trained personnel, training syllabus and exercise requirements, based on the outcomes of the risk assessments;
.7 The delivery of further national workshops on marine HNS spill response, possibly in conjunction with other relevant IMO workshops such as MARPOL Annex II or Ports of Refuge; and.8 PERSGA member States to follow the activities being developed in Egypt in respect to the development of their HNS contingency plan and response systems.
IMO provided a memory stick for all the participants including all relevant documents of the training workshop. The memory sticks were distributed with the Certificates by the end of the workshop.The regional training workshop was highly successful and met its overall objectives. The success of the workshop was confirmed by the positive feedback received from the participants, 97% of the 12 participants who responded confirmed that, in their opinion, the objectives of the workshop were met. 100% of the attendees also thought that they are likely to use the information gained during the workshop.
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden