Oil spill contingency planning strengthens maritime security

EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) Oil spill contingency planning is the process of developing a suitable spill response capability with guidance on the contingency planning process for potential oil spills in or on water following an accidental release of oil to a marine or aquatic environment, whether that be during the handling, transport, production or storage of oil products. Somalia is posed to serious marine environment pollution especially emanating from oil spills which is however an international problem and the solution lies with enforcement of international regulations by countries such as Somalia.

On 15 and 16 February the first part of the Maritime Criminal Justice Chain Exercise (MACRILEX) 2 exercise, hosted by the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport (MPMT), took place with seminar on Oil Spill preparedness exercise. The exercise was participated by  high level ranking directors such us  Dr Mahad Mohammed Hassan, deputy minister of MPMT, who presided the event with relevant support from Director of National Maritime Co-ordination and Blue Economy (Office of the President), representatives of the Somali Maritime Administration, MPMT, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, the Somali Police Force Maritime Police Unit Dept of Coast Guard, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ministry of Women Human Rights and Development (Representatives of the WIMS project), the Attorney General Office and the Ministry of Internal Security (Department of Maritime Security). The event focused on the MV Wakashio Oil Spill Event (Summer of 2020) as a reference.

The currently existing draft of the  Oil Spill Contingency Planning of the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport was presented to audience by the Director of Marine Environment Dept. at MPMT, also  Presentations from advisors from UK and Ireland Spill Association, EMSA, IOC, IMO, Nairobi Convention Secretariat, IOPC Secretariat, UNSOM, UNEP and EUCAP were used to feed a very fruitful and participative debate on the needs and details required to ameliorate the Contingency Planning of Somalia from the perspective of each one of the institutions present. Special comments were made towards the accession of Somalia to the different international treaties relevant on the matter and the compensation schemes existing. The possible criminal consequences and seafarer's rights protection required in such events was also discussed.

Recommendations agreed by the Somali stakeholders, among other, included the establishment of a Working Group on Oil Spill Contingency Planning including Federal Member States.

All documentation and presentations are to be shared among the participants, in order to achieve a comprehensive and workable contingency plan in order to prevent and better confront possible oil spill vents in Somalia.

EUCAP will continue collaborating with Somalia's relevant authorities and counterparts to help the Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport (MPMT) improve its existing oil spill contingency planning to effectively and efficiently respond to oil spills in accordance with international regulatory standards.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia).