Six-month training for oil spill response wraps up with joint exercise

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The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) in collaboration with the National Oil Spill Committee on Wednesday conducted an oil spill response exercise in the form of a command post and field tactical exercise.

This activity signaled the end of a series of training and workshops which began in September 2021 as part of the national oil spill response effort.

In a statement, the CDC said the mission was three-pronged with the command post established at the Pegasus Hotel and sectional posts at the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard Headquarters and the Marriott shoreline.

The activity was simulation-oriented which saw fictional scenarios surrounding a two-vessel collision and oil spill being responded to by various agencies.

Members of the National Oil Spill Committee (NOSC) such as the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), Guyana Police Force (GPF), GDF Coast Guard, Maritime Administration (MARAD), Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CDC played integral roles in assessing the simulated incident and managing the relevant responsibilities. Technical support was provided by The Response Group (TRG) –  an international incident and crisis management entity.

Director-General of the CDC Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig issued a few remarks during the Prime Minister’s visit to the exercise Command Post.

“The intent of the National Oil Spill Exercise is to test Guyana’s oil spill capabilities to respond to a Tier Two oil spill scenario through the activation of the NOSCP,” Craig said.

He added that the exercise is to mimic reality by conjuring complex problems that require critical thinking, rapid problem solving and effective responses.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips in turn inspected the command post and shoreline post and congratulated all the players on a job well done. Prime Minister Phillips indicated that he recognises a need for adequate resources to combat such a hazard, but committed the government’s support to ensure that all materials and personnel are in place for such an event.

The GNOSRE was ultimately a series of events in the forms of training sessions, workshops and assessment projects that spanned over a few months beginning in September of last year. However, most of the significant exercises occurred in March of 2022 in a total of eight phases.

Upon completion of Evaluation and Review, updated plans in the form of a comprehensive report will be incorporated into the NOSCP which will be used as a guide for potential oil spill hazards and disasters.

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