Guyana ready for possible oil spill after year-long joint tactical operation


The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) on Monday hosted a ‘close out’ event, culminating a year of training, workshops, assessment projects and simulation joint tactical exercises towards improving Guyana’s oil spill response and the capacity of the National Oil Spill Committee (NOSC).

Director General (ag) of the CDC, Major Loring Benons, told those gathered at the CDC’s Thomas Lands, Georgetown Headquarters that over the last year, Guyana’s capabilities were put to the test and he is confident that there is a successful national oil spill contingency plan in place.

Over the last year, over 200 locals from 30 organisations benefited from tactical and operational support given by various U.S agencies, including the US Coast Guard, which included a six-month training for oil spill response.

Those persons who benefited were from the NOSC, the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), Guyana Police Force (GPF), GDF Coast Guard, Maritime Administration (MARAD), Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the CDC among others.

The CDC boasts of now being able to also control oil spill hazards.

Benons explained that from June 2021 to April 2022, the training, workshops and joint exercises have prepared Guyana to respond to tier two oil spill scenarios.

The ‘close out’ event also saw the US Embassy donating a range of items to further bolster the agency’s humanitarian and civic aid capabilities.

From R – L: Director General (ag) of the CDC, Major Loring Benons and United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch during the handing over ceremony at CDC headquaters [Photo: News Room/ June 06, 2022]
Making the donation was United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch and it included tents, mats, sleeping bags, cots, generators and tables among other items.

Lynch said the Government of the United States of America, through its stakeholder agencies, was happy to join Guyana’s efforts to strengthen its overall disaster response, whether it be an oil spill or flooding.

Since Guyana became an oil producing in 2019, efforts have been made to improve its capabilities to respond to disasters such as oil spills.

In addition to these national efforts, US Oil Giant ExxonMobil has assured Guyanese that in addition to its insurance, which meets international standards, it also has the financial capacity to respond should there be such an adverse event.

ExxonMobil had previously outlined efforts to prevent oil spills and maintained that the company will be able to effectively manage response activities should the need arise.

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