International experts conduct advanced training for South Africans in oil spills prevention and management: SAMSA

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South African officials receiving a four day advanced training course in oil and gas spills Incident Management Systems (IMS300) from IMO and IPIECA international experts in Cape Town this week. The training, conducted on behalf of IMOrg in conjunction with the Department of Transport and SAMSA began on Monday and finishes on Thursday.

Cape Town: 05 November 2019

South Africa’s resolve to organise its state of readiness for the prevention of oil spills at its oceans as well as maintain an effective and efficient management system of oil spill incidents  when they occur is again being demonstrated in Cape Town this week with the staging of an advanced practical training course in oil spills incident management, conducted by international experts in the field.

IMG_9134.JPGThe training over four days this week involving about 40 South African officials – and the third of its kind in recent years – is being conducted on behalf of the South African government and domestic oil and gas industry by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and IPIECA international oil spill experts. It was organised through the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI-WACAF) Project.

It is a spin-off of and spill-over from last week’s GI-WACAF four day conference also held in Cape Town involving more than 20 African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean’s east coast.

Spokesperson for organisers, Mr Chueu Terrence Mabuela, the chairman of the South African Interim Incident Management Organisation (IMOrg) under the Department of Transport, says the initiative is informed by the country’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP).

Its goal, he says, is to firmly establish and maintain a management system where “the right people at the right time with the best-suited skills and accountabilities’…are at hand to both prevent and manage oil spills at the country’s oceans.

“In identifying the potential impact of offshore oil and gas production, the critical issue of oil spills and their impact on the marine environment was raised. In the context of preliminary discussions which initially took place in 2014 during the Operation Phakisa ‘Oceans Economy’ collaboration sessions, it was clear that there was a need for a joint-government/industry response approach to marine pollution incidents in the maritime and oil & gas sectors.

“By adopting international best practice in incident management, South Africa is proactively preparing to manage marine pollution incidents effectively, ensuring that the appropriate resources and stakeholders are mobilised quickly – and important and timeous decisions made,” says Mr Mabuela

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Captain Ravi Naicker. Senior Manager – Navigation, Protection Services & Environment: SAMSA

Captain Ravi Naicker, a senior manager for Navigation, Protection Services and Environment at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and co-chairman of IMOrg, says the training event currently underway at the Durbanville Conference Centre is the 3rd joint industry and Government national oil spill response exercise of its kind with an endorsement by the IMO.

According Captain Naicker, who had been central to organisation of the event, working closely with the IMO: “South Africa is fortunate to be part of the GI-WACAF, a project that sees the IMO collaborating with IPIECA – a global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues – to enhance the capacity of partner countries to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.

Captain Naicker says central to the success of the training initiatives is the involvement and collaboration of both government and industry because all relevant national Government departments and authorities, local and municipal responders, pollution prevention, containment and clean-up organisations, as well as vessel and offshore installation operators need to be aware of their responsibilities in the case of an incident.

As such, regular oil spill response exercises – initiated and managed by the Interim IMOrg utilising the Incident Management System (IMS) – bring together accountable designated representatives from a number of departments and state institutions such as the Department of Transport (DOT), Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries (DEFF), SAMSA, Department of Minerals and Energy (DME), Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), South African Police Service (SAPS), National, Provincial and Local Disaster Management Centres.

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Mr Rupert Bravery, Industry Chair of the GI-WACAF Project (Left) with two other IMO and IPIECA officials during the second day of an IMS300 Module training for about 40 South African officials in Durbanville, Cape Town this week.

Others include the Petroleum Agency South Africa (PASA), PetroSA, Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), Offshore Petroleum Association of South Africa (OPASA), Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), various environmental Conservation Agencies, as well as non-profit organisations such as the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), Industry role players in emergency response, oil spill response and marine operators, amongst others.

At this week’s advanced training in IMS300 module, participants are being prepared as team members for response management by the application of the IMS to the higher levels of sustained oil spill response management, including management of complex incidents involving multiple types of concurrent emergencies.

IMG_9139.JPGAccording to Captain Naicker, the course is a more focused look at IMS and a greater in-depth description of the roles under the various structures.

“IMS 300 is therefore a continuation of IMS 200 and thus IMS 100 and IMS 200 is a requirement. The course will provide participants an understanding of , among other issues; a greater technical and functional understanding of IMS, IMS Section functions, including the Incident Action Plan (IAP), completion and facilitation of the various IMS forms, and the roles and duties of the various organisational striations under IMS.

Course topics include management of expanding incidents, area command concepts, IMS organisation for multiple command posts, and sustained incident planning and development of multi-layered Incident Action Plans as well as resource management and demobilisation.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the trainees will then undergo a practical training in many of these issues.

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22 African countries recommit to working together against oil spills; Cape Town.

GI-WACAF CONFERENCE 2019 WRAP UP

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Deliberations on the last day of the GI-WACAF Conference of 22 African countries in Cape Town on Thursday.

Cape Town: 03 November 2019

Oil spills in the world’s oceans remain a dreaded possibility at all times whether through human handling or natural disasters, and preparedness for such eventuality by both industry and governments in concert are the key prerequisites for successful prevention or effective, and efficient management of such spills when they occur.

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Mr Brian Sullivan, Executive Director; IPIECA

It was for that reason that, according to Mr Brian Sullivan, executive director of IPIECA (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association), regional collaboration, cooperation and teamwork between and among countries with coastal access was absolutely critical to oil spills combating anywhere at seas across the world.

This, he told about 100 delegates from 22 African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the last day of their four day conference in Cape Town on Thursday, under the aegis of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) led Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern African (GI-WACAF) Project.

Mr Sullivan’s organisation, IPIECA, established in 1974 with the encouragement of the United Nations Environmental Program, and now with about 65 member companies and organisations, describes itself as ‘the global oil and gas industry association for advancing environmental and social performance..and convenes a significant portion of the oil and gas industry across the value chain, bringing together the expertise of oil and gas companies and associations to develop, share and promote good practice and knowledge.”

IPIECA further describes itself as the oil and gas industry’s ‘principal channel of engagement with the United Nations,’ a position it says enables its members to ‘support the energy transition and contribute to sustainable development.’

IPIECA member companies include BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Total, Shell, Woodside and dozens others.

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Some of the delegates that attended the 8th GI-WACAF Conference in Cape Town a week ago

GI-WACAF on the other hand, launched in 2006, is a regional organisation of 22 African countries on the south, central and north Atlantic Ocean east coast, and was established  to promote and encourage close collaboration between governments and industry to enhance oil spills preparedness, response and cooperation.

The GI-WACAF member countries, among them South Africa, comprise countries among which are signatories to no less than three conventions, such as the Abuja and Benguela Current Conventions – and all of which collaboration and cooperation instruments aspire to similar goals as the GI-WACAF.

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Delegates to the 8th GI-WACAF Conference of 22 African countries in Cape Town from Monday to Thursday last week being taken through a demonstration of an oil spill containment and management.

For all of last week, bar Friday, delegates from the 22 African countries spent considerable time, both in conference at a hotel in Newlands as well as at an oil spill management demonstration site at a lagoon near Cape Town, deliberating over a variety of issues all aimed at strengthening their national systems for preparedness and response in case of an oil spill anywhere in their region.

The intended outcome, according to the IMO and IPIECA, both which directed proceedings of the gathering, would be a further two year agreement on an action plan of defined activities in the period.

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Ms Patricia Charlebois (seated second from Left), an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) taking notes during during a session of the GI-WACAF conference 2019 in Cape Town from Monday, 28 October to Thursday, 31 October.

Split in two groups by language – French and English speaking country groups –  during working groups sessions, such a list of actions proposed to form the two year agreement emerged on Thursday, and would be consolidated and shared among represented countries by the GI-WACAF secretariat in due course.

The issues ranged from legislation, cross boundary co-operation to shoreline waste management and quite a few others.

In closing remarks, Mr Sullivan applauded the participating countries’ demonstrated commitment to the GI-WACAF Project, describing it as encouraging that governments and industry in the region, showed willingness and determination to work closely together in preserving the oceans environment integrity through prevention and combating of oil pollution.

He further noted that the compulsory implementation of lower sulphur oil for ships fuel in January 2020 by the IMO would present its own challenges to shipping and oil industries in general, but expressed confidence that through the established and sustained healthy cooperation and collaboration between industry and governments, the challenges would be overcome.

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Ms Patricia Charlebois. Deputy Director, International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Both IPIECA and the IMO, the latter through its deputy director, Ms Patricia Charlebois, also expressed gratitude to South Africa, precisely the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for assistance with the conference.

For both Mr Sullivan and Ms Charlebos’s full closing remarks, Click on the respective videos below.

Meanwhile, in an effort to gain further insight into the IMO and IPIECA driven GI-WACAF Project – one of three across the globe – as well as glean an understanding of its significance to South Africa in particular, this blog charted to SAMSA’s key representative at the conference, Captain Ravi Naicker, For the interview, click on the video below and for his presentation to the conference, the next video.

Supplementary to the above, this blog further obtained a series of interviews with both IMO and various other delegates that attended. These will be uploaded as soon as processed.

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