Thoroughly revised regional procedures on response to pollution incidents on the shore were approved by the 22nd meeting of the HELCOM Response Working Group closing yesterday. The revised Manual will be submitted to the 2017 Annual Meeting of HELCOM for final adoption. HELCOM response manual incorporate regional best practice and operational procedures on spill preparedness and response and was first adopted in 1980s.
On shore response has also been practiced regionally in recent years. Photo: Maritime Search and Rescue Service, Poland
The Meeting welcomed also the new HELCOM-led OPENRISK project on risk assessment methods for spill prevention, preparedness and response purposes. The new initiative will last for two years starting January 2017. OPENRISK will involve national institutions but also regional intergovernmental organisations from the wider European area.
In addition, Russia welcomed the Baltic Sea coastal countries and EU to the 2017 HELCOM Balex Delta operational spill response exercise that Russia will arrange in the beginning of August 2017 in the Kaliningrad area.
The 22st Meeting of the HELCOM Response Working Group was held on 8-10 November 2016 in Riga, Latvia and chaired by Ms. Heli Haapasaari, Chair of the Response Working Group. All documents are available at the Meeting site.
* * * Note for editors
HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission; it is the governing body of the Helsinki Convention.
The HELCOM Response Working Group 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 aerial surveillance of maritime shipping routes to detect oil spills and other potentially harmful