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International Arctic oil spill response exercise and seminar will be arranged in Oulu 7-8 March

Press release 2018-03-01 at 13:38
Oil spill response in ice conditions. Photo: Jouko Pirttijärvi SYKE
Oil spill response in ice conditions. © Photo: Jouko Pirttijärvi

Finnish Environment Institute's press release

An international Arctic oil recovery exercise will be held 7 March at the Bay of Bothnia off the coast of Oulu City in Northern Finland. All interested are welcome to follow the exercise in real time video streaming in the internet. The exercise will involve an aircraft of the Finnish Border Guard, as well as several vessels equipped with mechanical brush skimmers that are suited for oil spill response in ice conditions. Parallel to the exercise is an international conference which focuses on pollution response aspects in the Arctic.

The on-line exercise video will be found in the seminar page www.syke.fi/projects/mospa2018 as well as other information. There will be interviews of the responsible officials and updates from situation awareness system BORIS as well as aerial pictures. No real oil will be used during the event.

Cooperation is essential in an oil spill situation

“The environmental risks in Arctic regions have increased over the last few decades. International cooperation creates the conditions for protecting the marine environment from oil spills”, remarks the organizer of the event, Head of Unit Jorma Rytkönen from SYKE.

The imaginary situation is that the tanker Finter has driven to rocks 1st March at 05:30 am off the coast of Oulu City. The vessel has been towed to the harbor of Oulu but there has been an oil spill of 2000–3000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. The SYKE Duty Officer has issued exercise alerts to the member countries of the Arctic Council and the Nordic countries. SYKE has also called several government owned pollution response vessels to the spot as well as asked international assistance from Sweden.

Weather can still change the exercise plan for quite another e.g. if the vessels are not able to approach the imaginary oil spill area because of the hard ice conditions”, says Jorma Rytkönen from SYKE.

Mospa exercise background

Finnish Environment Institute is organizing the exercise in close co-operation with Swedish Coast Guard. Event will be run under the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (MOSPA) and the Copenhagen agreement. Event is supported by the Finnish Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, Finnish Ministry of the Environment, the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) working group of the Arctic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Media opportunities

Media can participate in the exercise on the multipurpose vessel Louhi (Finnish Navy). The journey takes the whole day 7th of March. Please register before 3th of March to Jouko Pirttijärvi. Information needed: date of birth, whole name, gender, media represented.
> Jouko Pirttijärvi, Administrative Officer Inspector, SYKE, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi , tel. +358 295 251 514

The exercise will be accompanied by a seminar (programme) on 7-8 March that will address the topics of the Arctic environment, mechanical oil recovery in ice conditions, ice and weather services in the Arctic region, properties of vessels in ice conditions, and environmental monitoring.

We kindly ask journalists to make interview reservations before the seminar. Please contact Katri Haatainen.

Further information

Head of Unit Jorma Rytkönen, tel. +358 295 251 583, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Communication Expert Katri Haatainen, tel. +358 295 251 135, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

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