Guyana, US stakeholders working towards improving local oil spill response plan


Efforts are being made to assess possible oil spill scenarios so that the response to a potential oil spill would be improved, thereby mitigating risks and consequences of such a disaster.

These efforts are being facilitated through partnership between the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

From Wednesday, agencies that are part of Guyana’s National Oil Spill Committee and relevant agency representatives began benefitting from oil spill risk assessment activities across Guyana.

All participants are expected to engage in the assessment of possible oil spill scenarios in Guyana to identify the most likely and most consequential scenarios. Subsequently, those participants are expected to rank order the scenarios to determine which require mitigating action before outlining what those actions should be.

“We recognise that oil spill response and management is an important feature of our national development landscape,” CDC”s Preparedness and Response Manager Major Salim October said during a Zoom meeting on Wednesday.

Guyana has a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan but capacity- building exercises have been ongoing to guarantee that the national agencies are able to respond to the potential disaster as it arises.

CDC’s Deputy Director General, Major Loring Benons noted that capacity-building exercises are still in its “embryonic stages” but he emphasised that the partnerships like the one between the CDC and the US Coast Guard are crucial.

“If oil spills are not properly addressed they could devastate the marine environment and result in short and long term costs.

“We have to ensure that as far as possible such events are avoided,” Major Benons stated.

An opening session for a virtual risk assessment workshop was held on Wednesday. This workshop is expected to build upon the progress Guyana has already made with the development of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and oil spill response capabilities.

And the US Coast Guard facilitators will guide the participants through an assessment of possible oil spill scenarios in Guyana to identify the most likely and most consequential scenarios.

Meanwhile, a release from the US Embassy in Georgetown stated that other activities in 2022 will include virtual exercise program management training and in-person exchanges to observe oil spill response exercises.

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