The Civil Defense Commission (CDC) has implemented the National Oil Spill Response Plan (NOSRP) and the National Oil Spill Committee, in driving forward contingency plans and policy direction dealing with the management of national oil spill incidents.
The National Oil Spill Response Plan was drafted in 2018 by the Department of Maritime Administration (MARAD) and further strengthened by a working group led by the CDC. In October last year, it was passed to Government and the final plan developed from comprehensive consultations, reviews, tests and comprehensive support from national stakeholders.
International partners such as the US Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization also played important roles. Tuesday’s inauguration set the pace for implementing the plan.
“The Committee is the body now mandated to oversee policy development, review the plan, draft legislation and regulations, and make recommendations on relevant international conventions that will increase the nation’s capabilities to deal with oil spill pollution incidents and ‘ u reduce. in our environment, ”the GDC said in a statement.
Some of the capacity building requirements are new and technical, so there is a need for specialized training and appropriate equipment that are not readily available in Guyana. To this end, the Commission has already begun discussions with the United States Department of State and the Coastguard for support.
At the launch, Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips charged the National Oil Spill Committee (NOSC) to be proactive in discovering and dealing with potential threats posed by the oil and gas industry.
“Recognizing the individual and organizational responsibilities entrusted to you, I urge that you prioritize proactivity in your plans and actions, so that Guyana can aggressively and effectively manage the threats of our oil and gas industry, and deliver the fruitful benefits to our economy, citizens and national development. ”
Prime Minister Phillips added that despite the huge potential the oil and gas industry has for Guyana’s growth, it brings additional environmental risks that must be taken seriously.
“It cannot be overlooked that this industry is also presenting new threats and risks to our nation that need to be effectively managed to ensure that our resources and ecosystems remain safe… The Committee has a National Oil Spill this is, therefore, a huge task at hand, which is to oversee and co-ordinate national efforts to ensure that these negative effects are avoided at all costs. ”
The First Minister also called for better co-operation among stakeholders.
“I urge you to consider the merits of joint action and begin the essential process of establishing strategic partnerships with each other.”
Stakeholders in attendance included representatives from the Civil Defense Commission (CDC), Guyana Defense Force (GDF), Ministry of Legal Affairs (MOLA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Private Sector Commission (PSC), Environmental Protection Agency. (EPA) and the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS) among other agencies.
The SDC’s Director General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said the orientation is the first step in the implementation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. He said that one of the objectives of Tuesday’s meeting was to establish the Committee’s work plan for 2021.
The CDC Director stated that throughout the year the SDC will conduct several training sessions as well as install and test equipment already acquired.
“Notably, the Commission will soon be proposing three containers of equipment including oil containment boots, biological and chemical dispersants, and personal protective equipment to the Guyana Defense Force Coast Guard to assist in the discharge of their duties outlined in the Plan. ”
The Head of the GDC added that capacity still needed to be built, but some of the technical necessities to do so are not available locally, while some still need to be identified.
He said in that regard, the CDC has already begun discussions with the US State Department and the US Coast Guard to assist in conducting a capacity needs assessment. The CDC also intends to seek further support from the International Maritime Organization and the Regional Maritime Pollution Emergency Information, Training and Training Center.