Department of Disaster Management
Telephone: 468-4200 ext. 4180
Fourteen delegates from the Overseas Territories have joined others from the BVI to participate in a Level I Oil Spill Response Training being offered at the Training Division from March 24 to 26.
The course is certified by the International Maritime Organisation and is delivered through the Regional Activity Centre/Regional Maritime Pollution Emergency Information and Training Center (REMPEITC) out of Curacao. It is organised by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) as part of its annual training programme with financial support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Facilitators for the course include IMO Consultant and active duty US Coast Guard Commander Mr. Paul Lattanzi, and Mike Gass, a retired US Navy Officer who spent many years with Clean Caribbean and Americas.Director of theDepartment of Disaster Management Ms. Sharleen DaBreo explained the importance of the course and how it has benefitted the BVI. She said, “The IMO training is well structured and provides an in-depth introduction to oil spill response. The training has worked well for the BVI and we have been able to establish a fully trained and certified national oil spill response team”.
The Director also expressed her gratitude to the local fuel supplier Sol for opening their doors and allowing the participants to tour their facilities as part of the course activities.
“We have developed strong partnerships with the private sector in this area of disaster management and we have invited representatives from the local fuel companies Sol and Delta, as well as the Jost van Dyke Preservation Society and the Moorings,” she said.
Ms. DaBreo stated that these types of response operations require a team effort and that the various response organisations must be supported by resources available throughout the private sector and from regional and international partners. She added that there is a memorandum of understanding in place with the USA to support major oil spill operations and that support was received on two occasions involving oil spill pollution incidents from two very large cargo vessels that ran into trouble in the Territiory’s waters.
The Director said significant resources have been invested into educating the public about oil spills and their effects on the environment. This approach she said has seen a significant reduction in the number of oil spill incidents. Ms. Da Breo further stated that support has been given to the Ministry of Communication and Works in the development of the Oil Spill Prevention Bill which is about to go before Cabinet for approval.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990, calls for the International Maritime Organisation along with relevant international and regional organizations, and the oil and shipping industries to develop a comprehensive training program in the field of oil pollution preparedness and response including the availability of expertise for the development and implementation of training programmes. REMPEITC therefore offers three model training courses aimed at first responders (Level I), supervisors and on-scene commanders (Level II) and administrators and senior Managers (Level III). The BVI responders have received training at Levels I and II.