Updating organisational frameworks

Continuous improvement of preparedness and response capability is of paramount importance. It requires up-to-date contingency plans, adapted response stockpiles and well-trained personnel. Response capacity is not directly dependent on the size of stocks of dispersants, booms, pumps, nor the number of people having followed a specialised training course as part of their job. Rather, it requires properly maintained, suitable equipment, handled by trained personnel, who can be rapidly mobilised and are capable of properly supervising response personnel recruited during the crisis.

Aluminium shuttle used to remove the remaining
cargo of fuel oil from the wrecks of the Prestige

To use these resources in the best possible way, it is necessary to have a high data collection, transmission and handing capacity, for many different data elements: observation at sea, oil slick drift prediction modelling, observation and quantification of arrivals onshore, predictions of requirements of personnel and equipment, performance of shoreline clean-up, information of the authorities and the general public.

The combination of stocks and teams from public and private sectors with modern means of rapid transportation of equipment from one site to another increase efficiency with limited stockpiles and teams. Oil spill response has today passed the stage of discovery and approximation.

Rock clean-up training



Oil industry preparedness

The Global Response Network (GRN) formalises collaboration between oil industry funded, non-profit making oil spill response organisations. These organisations collaborate and share human and material resources, in order to maximise the effectiveness of response operations in the event of a disaster. Today the GRN brings together organisations with regional and worldwide scope, which are based all over the globe.

The members of the GRN are Alaska Clean Seas, Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre, Clean Caribbean Americas, East Canada Response Corporation, Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, Marine Spill Response Corporation (US), Oil Spill Response Limited (UK) and East Asia Response Limited (Singapore).

Faced with less frequent accidents, this field has become an organised sector, within the framework of a worldwide strategy, aiming at the highest cost-effectiveness. On top of operational leaders’ own means, they should ideally belong to a network of partners able to very rapidly provide human and/or material support where necessary.

It is important not to let efforts ease off. Each major spill has pulled up the level of performance to be attained. Today, it is no longer simply a question of being efficient in the action taken to organise response. Response should also involve the ability to communicate information in real time on what is being done and what is going to be done, and to explain, or even justify, these choices.

The fight against oil spills is no longer only a fight against the pollutant, but also a fight on the information front.