International cooperation to respond to spillages of oil and other harmful substances in the Baltic Sea area moves ahead as the HELCOM Manual improvesThe need continues for continuous information exchange and sharing best practises as well as recent developments regarding shore response The substantial milestone of revising the HELCOM Response Manual Vol III about pollution has been reached by the assigned expert , wrapping up their meeting yesterday on a cruise ship voyage to Turku, Finland. The cooperation in combating spillages of oil and other harmful substances in the Baltic Sea area is based on the 1992 Helsinki Convention. The amendment to the Convention on explicit coverage of response on the shore, also drafted by the expert group, stepped into force in 2014. Experts on shore pollution response from seven Baltic coastal countries are happy for the successful completion of their key job.”Finishing the work on the thorough updating and extending of the Manual is a remarkable achievement. The Baltic Sea pollution response has longer traditions at sea than on the shore, and the practices, procedures and authorities in charge often significantly differ between shore and sea – nevertheless cooperation would be crucial in case of a major pollution incident,” says Heli Haapasaari, Chair of HELCOM Response Working who is overseeing the Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore. The Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore has completed its tasks for now but more work is still needed. The group had the consensus that further strengthening of the on shore response cooperation is necessary, and the future need remains for continuous information exchange, and sharing best practises as well as recent developments regarding shore response. “We look forward to still improve the HELCOM cooperation regarding the shore response and lift it to the next level. In the near future it should be a self-evident part of the response chain,” says Sonja Dobo, the Chair of the Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore. In the relatively small Baltic Sea, with its narrow Danish Straits and a large number of islands and skerries in the north, in case of a polluting accident there is probably not enough time or resources to recover all the oil or other harmful substance at sea – thus some will reach the shore. Pollution on the shore may be of such a magnitude that the national response resources are not adequate for effective counter pollution measures. For this end it is essential to have effective mechanisms established, also covering efficient operations, for international assistance between all the HELCOM countries. The 13th Meeting of the Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore was chaired by Sonja Dobo, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), Chair of the Group, and held on 22 September 2016. . Access to all documents. * * * Note for editors works to ensure swift national and international responses to maritime pollution incidents, including in case of accident the availability of appropriate equipment and the joint practice of response procedures in cooperation with neighbouring states. The group also coordinates the released into the Baltic Sea and help identify suspected polluters. The meetings of the HELCOM RESPONSE Group have been held regularly among all Baltic Sea countries and EU for over thirty years. The Response group includes Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response (), Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore (), Informal Working Group on Aerial Surveillance () and HELCOM Expert Group on Environmental Risks of Hazardous Submerged Objects (). The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Sonja DoboChair of the HELCOM Expert Working Group on Response on the ShoreSwedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)Tel: +46708108279E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
International cooperation to respond to spillages of oil and other harmful substances in the Baltic Sea area moves ahead as the HELCOM Manual improves.