March 24 – Fourteen delegates from the Overseas Territories
have joined others from the BVI to participate in a Level I Oil Spill Response
Training being offered at the Training Division from 24 to 26 March.
The course is certified by the International Maritime
Organisation and is delivered through the Regional Activity Centre/Regional
Maritime Pollution Emergency Information and Training Center (REMPEITC) out of
Curacao. It is organised by the
Department of Disaster Management (DDM) as part of its annual training programme
with financial support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Facilitators for the course include IMO Consultant and
active duty US Coast Guard Commander Mr. Paul Lattanzi, and Mike Gass, a
retired US Navy Officer who spent many years with Clean Caribbean and Americas.
Director of the
Department of Disaster Management Ms Sharleen DaBreo explained the importance of
the course and how it has benefitted the BVI.
She said, “The IMO
training is well structured and provides an in-depth introduction to oil spill
response. The training has worked well
for the BVI and we have been able to establish a fully trained and certified
national oil spill response team”.
Director also expressed her gratitude to the local fuel supplier Sol for
opening their doors and allowing the participants to tour their facilities as
part of the course activities.
“We have developed strong partnerships with the private sector in
this area of disaster management and we have invited representatives from the
local fuel companies Sol and Delta as well as the Jost van Dyke Preservation
Society and the Moorings,” she said.
Ms DaBreo stated that these types of response
operations require a team effort and that the various response organisations must
be supported by resources available throughout the private sector and from
regional and international partners. She added that there is a memorandum of
understanding is in place with the USA to support major oil spill operations and
that support was received on two
occasions involving oil spill pollution incidents from two very large cargo
vessels that ran into trouble in the Territory’s waters.
The Director said significant resources have been
invested into educating the public about oil spills and their effects on the
environment. This approach she said has seen a significant reduction in the
number of oil spills. Ms DaBreo said support has also been given to the
Ministry of Communication and Works in the development of the Oil Spill
Prevention Bill which is about to go before Cabinet for approval.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution
Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990 calls for the International Maritime
Organisation along with relevant international, regional organizations, oil and shipping industries to
develop a comprehensive training program in the field of oil pollution
preparedness and response including the availability of expertise for the
development implementation of training programmes. REMPEITC therefore offers three model
training courses aimed at first responders (Level I), supervisors and on-scene
commanders (Level II) and administrators and senior Managers (Level III). The BVI responders have received training at
Levels I and II.
Notes to Editors:
Photo Caption – Participants taking part
on the IMO Oil Spill Response training along with facilitators Mike Gass and
Photo Credit: Department of Disaster Management.