• 2017 November 11 10:44

    Baltic Sea response community prepares for major oil spill exercise in Sweden 2018

    The next major Baltic operational exercise in oil spill response, HELCOM BALEX DELTA, is scheduled to take place during the week of 27–31 August 2018 in Karlskrona area, Sweden. Preparations for the 2018 exercise will take major steps forward today and tomorrow (8–9 November) with an initial planning conference in Stockholm, Sweden, HELCOM said in its press release.

    During the conference, the participating response authorities from the Baltic Sea coastal countries and the EU will have an opportunity to provide input to the planning of the three-day exercise. The conference is organized by the Swedish Coast Guard, the coordinator of BALEX DELTA 2018, and co-financed by the EU.
    HELCOM BALEX DELTA exercises, organised as a practical test of the alarm procedures and the response capability of the Baltic Sea countries, have taken place each year since 1989. They are hosted by the Baltic Sea coastal countries according to a rotation schedule agreed upon at the HELCOM RESPONSE Working Group.

    In addition to the host, other countries regularly participate with their own response ships. Typically, 6–8 countries take part in the exercise, bringing the total number of vessels to 10–20. This makes the Baltic exercise one of the major multilateral spill exercises worldwide.

    For the 2018 exercise, the hosting country Sweden has a project budget of nearly 1 million euro, which includes significant project financing from the European Union Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) for the period from May 2017 to April 2019. This funding allows a more advanced exercise, including detailed and inclusive planning as well as more thorough analysis of the lessons learned. The outcome of this analysis will contribute to the overall development of the HELCOM exercise framework for at-sea, on-shore and combined operations. The project has recently been selected a flagship project of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

    The preliminary scenario for the 2018 BALEX DELTA, to be further discussed at the initial planning conference, involves a cargo ship which hits ground off the environmentally sensitive rocky coast of southern parts of Sweden (Skåne and Blekinge). The ship carries containers with hazardous chemicals, some of which start leaking and are lost into the sea, while a breach in the hull leads to an oil spill. Some of the material reaches the shoreline, which calls for response activities on the shore, in addition to those at sea.

    Thus, besides ensuring effective international oil spill response at sea and on the shore, the exercise will also answer another need: to further develop the response procedures that relate to international incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances, both in the Baltic Sea and worldwide. Moreover, the exercise will focus on ensuring effective communication between the diverse actors involved, especially between those working on shore and those at sea.

    As the exercise receives funding from the DG ECHO programme, an extensive observer programme will be organised in order to ensure that the Baltic best practices can be spread throughout the EU. Within the observer programme, observers from 40 countries will be invited to witness the exercise, in addition to the Baltic Sea community that regularly takes part.

    International assistance from some or all coastal countries may be needed in the case of a major spill in the Baltic Sea. Based on the 1974/1992 Helsinki Convention, work for such co-ordinated on pollution preparedness and response take place within the regular regional cooperation of HELCOM. A dedicated intergovernmental group was established in 1977 for this purpose, today called the HELCOM Response Working Group.

    The agreed preparedness and response procedures are documented in the HELCOM RESPONSE Manual, which was first compiled in 1983 from a number of related HELCOM Recommendations and has been kept continuously updated ever since.
    In order to test this Response Manual in practice, and thus ensure effective co-operation in case of an international pollution incident in the Baltic Sea, the coastal countries regularly carry out exercises. These range from table top and communication exercises to operational exercises like the HELCOM BALEX DELTA, which has been organised every year since 1989. In operational exercises equipment, ships and staff are exercised in the field using an incident scenario, partly unknown to the participants.

    The BALEX DELTA 2018 EU project is a time-limited EU project supporting the organisation of the 2018 edition of the HELCOM BALEX DELTA exercise. The project will run from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2019 with a total budget of EUR 950 000 from European Union DG ECHO, Directorate A -Emergency Management. The project consortium, led by the Swedish Coast Guard, includes as project partners the County Administrative Board of Skåne, HELCOM, MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency), Polish Maritime Search and Rescue Service, and SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute).

2018 March 17

06:48 Seatrade convicted for trafficking toxic ships

2018 March 16

18:06 Rijkswaterstaat awards Afsluitdijk project to Levvel consortium
17:36 HHLA Container Terminal Burchardkai handles new record ship
17:05 ICS publishes latest Flag State Performance Table
16:51 Vladimir Putin inspected the completed new road section of the Crimean Bridge
16:35 Wison successfully delivers the global largest single cracking furnace module
16:20 GTT announces the end of the test phase of its new LNG brick® technology
16:05 Fincantieri starts building of ultra-luxury cruise ship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises
15:30 Caterpillar Marine announces first European IMO Tier III tugboat
15:03 Throughput of port Kavkaz up 67% to 4.3 million tonnes in 2M’18
14:39 Port of Hamburg proves effectiveness in handling mega-carriers
14:05 Training for port facility security staff arranged in the Dominican Republic
13:42 Multipurpose Reloading Complex takes lead in the industry
13:20 Karachi Shipyards & Engineering Works delivers two Damen Stan Patrol 1605 FRP patrol boats to Pakistan Customs
13:17 Bunker prices continue going down at the port of Novorossiysk, Russia (graph)
12:51 52 icebreaker escort operations performed in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on March 15-16
12:28 Seaports of Russia’s Azov Sea Basin handled 16.77 million tonnes of cargo in winter 2017-2018, up 63.8% Y-o-Y
12:04 Latin America maritime cooperation centre launched
11:40 Vympel Shipyard laid down second armament support ship of Project 20360М for RF Defence Ministry (photo)
11:15 Vostochny Port JSC develops railway infrastructure under its Phase 3 project (photo)
10:52 IMO joined leading oil spill experts to discuss future issues concerning oil spill preparedness, response and restoration
10:27 Brent Crude futures price down 0.11% to $65.05, Light Sweet Crude – down 0.05% to $61.16
10:09 Panama Canal signs agreement with Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of Mato Grosso
09:48 IMO is looking at safety aspects of on shore power supply to ships
09:34 Bunker prices are flat at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:16 Baltic Dry Index down to 1,150 points
09:03 Damen unveils Multi Cat Water Injection Dredger

2018 March 15

18:25 CMA CGM announces FAK rates from Asia to the Mediterranean
18:11 ICS releases latest Flag State Performance Table (with new criteria included)
18:05 Fincantieri will cooperate with Barzan Holdings
17:57 Throughput of port Kaliningrad in 2M’18 up 16% Y-o-Y to 2.32 million tonnes
17:35 Second Sanmar Voith Schneider Propeller tug joins sister in Israel
17:20 Throughput of port Vyborg up 19% to 197,800 tonnes in 2M’18
17:05 Seaspan acquires Greater China Intermodal Investments LLC
17:02 MABUX: global bunker market still in 'wait-and-see' mood
16:35 DP World announces strong financial results for 2017
16:16 Throughput of port Vysotsk down 5% to 3.06 million tonnes in 2M’18
16:05 ECSA and WSC call for the revision of the Reporting Formalities Directive to improve the efficiency of maritime transport
15:39 Port of Oakland imports up 14.9 percent in February 2018
15:31 Sanmar orders 42 Rolls-Royce thrusters
15:22 Coastal facilities and hydraulic engineering structures under FNPP project in Chukotka to be completed in August 2019
15:07 Port of Dover awards major contract for new Refrigerated Cargo Terminal
14:33 Yang Ming to launch new Japan-Malaysia-Vietnam direct service
14:11 Throughput of port Primorsk in 2M’18 down 32% Y-o-Y to 7.47 million tonnes
13:50 Throughput of port Ust-Luga up 6% to 16.59 million tonnes in 2M'18
13:25 VARD secures contract for the construction of one fishing vessel for Remøybuen AS
13:12 Throughput of Big Port St. Petersburg up 11% to 9.01 million tonnes in 2M’18
12:30 Paweł Jakubowski appointed as President of Polskie LNG S.A. Management Board
11:45 Freeport of Riga is getting ready for new cruise ship season
11:44 MOL announces delivery of the Beluga Ace, 1st next-generation FLEXIE series car carrier
11:23 34 icebreaker escort operations performed in eastern part of Gulf of Finland during 24 hours on March 14-15
11:00 Bunker prices are going up at the Far East ports of Russia (graph)
10:38 Marine Recruiting Agency and Corporate University “Norilsk Nickel” take on joint educational project
10:14 Brent Crude futures price up 0.05% to $64.92, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.11% to $61.03
09:49 Arctic Council will gather in Levi, Finland on 22-23 March 2018
09:17 Baltic Dry Index down to 1,169 points

2018 March 14

18:26 Port of Antwerp sets up maritime training institute in Brazil
18:06 Port of Oakland releases a new 5-year strategic plan
17:55 Baltic Workboats delivers ten more 15m Baltic wave piercing pilot boats to Denmark pilots stations
17:36 Fincantieri upgrades ultra-luxury cruise ship Silver Spirit