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Twenty-two public officers and partners attended a marine pollution training and table top exercise designed to test and strengthen the Virgin Islands Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
Director of Disaster Management Mr. Jasen Penn said the training exercise allowed Virgin Islands responders to work together and talk through how they would coordinate, prioritise, and execute and complex marine response.
Mr. Penn said, “These officers and our partners from outside government are very well versed in their specialties, but this training and exercise gave them the opportunity to review our national oil spill plan as a team and identify the gaps that exist.”
The director added, “This type of ongoing training helps ensure that our plans and procedures keep pace with best practices for marine pollution response.”
Participants have gained knowledge on international best practise when it comes to marine pollution management, including an understanding of the various risks associated with different types of pollutants.
The table top exercise challenged participants to consider how they would respond to a complex at-sea incident that included a search and rescue element, multiple pollutant types, and the need to request resources from external sources.
The training was facilitated by UK Maritime Coastguard Agency’s Head of Counter Pollution and Salvage Stan Woznicki and Environmental Science Lead Neil Chapman and coordinated as part of the Department of Disaster Management’s annual training calendar.
Participants included relevant responders from the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, BVI Airports Authority, BVI Ports Authority, BVI Fire and Rescue Services, Department of Disaster Management, Department of Waste Management, His Majesty’s Customs, Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue, Delta Petroleum, and SOL.
Regular testing of the Virgin Islands Oil Spill Contingency Plan ensures that the Territory remains in compliance with the International Maritime Organisation’s International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC).