HELCOM to conduct its annual pollution response exercise BALEX DELTA 2005
Helsinki, 23 August (HELCOM) – The Helsinki Commission will conduct its annual international exercise BALEX DELTA 2005 on 31st of August outside Karlskrona, Sweden, to check the Baltic Sea countries’ readiness to respond to major oil accidents at sea.
Up to two dozen ships and smaller vessels from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden and also more than 40 observers from these countries and Russia will take part in this operational exercise.
“The main aim of BALEX DELTA 2005 is to test the HELCOM Response system, it’s command and communication system, and the co-operation between response units of Baltic Sea countries,” said Thomas Fagö, Chairman of the HELCOM Response Group.
According to the scenario of the exercise, a ferry collides with an oil tanker carrying a cargo of around 70,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in the area of Utklippan south of Sweden. Besides cargo, the oil tanker has some 6,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and 150 tons of marine diesel oil as bunker. After the collision the oil tanker leaks around 10,000 tons of cargo drifting towards Sweden’s coastline. Units from Sweden and other HELCOM countries are tasked to jointly prevent the oil slick go ashore. To simulate a large oil spill popcorn will be used.
This years’ HELCOM annual exercise is organized by the Swedish Coast Guard HQ and its Regional South Command. Sweden will start BALEX DELTA 2005 as a national exercise already on 30th of August.
The international exercise on 31st of August will be followed by a press conference, which is scheduled to begin at 15:30 local time. Also a press tour will be arranged in the exercise area in the morning.
BALEX DELTA operational response exercises have been held annually since 1990. Through the time HELCOM has steadily improved the readiness of the countries around the Baltic to jointly respond to an oil spill at sea. In total, the Baltic countries have at hand more than 30 response vessels that are located around the Baltic Sea. They are able to reach any place in the Baltic Sea within 6 to 48 hours.
Note to Editors:
The Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental co-operation between the countries bordering the sea - Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and also the European Community. HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Thomas Fagö
Chairman of HELCOM RESPONSE
Tel: +46 (455) 353455
Mr. Tadas Navickas
Tel: +358 9 62202242
Fax: +358 9 62202239
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 9 62202235
Fax: +358 9 6220 2239