Island teams get training in maritime crisis management

Disaster teams of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba were trained by the Dutch national road and waterways management organisation Rijkswaterstaat to broaden their knowledge and experience in the field of disaster and crisis management in maritime incidents reports The Daily Herald.

Statia’s disaster team working on an exercise during the workshop.
Statia’s disaster team working on an exercise during the workshop.

The crisis-management workshop was held Wednesday and Thursday at Divi Little Bay Hotel in St. Maarten. Part of the training was provided by Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), the global organization that flies in additional oilspill equipment whenever there is major oil pollution.

OSRL’s Tristan Barston gave a presentation on oil properties, the dangers of working with oil, operational safety considerations, clean-up methods and considerations, waste management, long- term monitoring, mitigation of risks during clean-ups, capacity of the islands, available equipment and what will be coming to the islands soon, the protocol in the event of a spill and who to call.

Representatives of the Coast Guard, harbour masters, island secretaries and various environmental organizations, together with Rijkswaterstaat and OSRL, discussed the procedures during an oil spill and what could happen in the aftermath.

The first day of the workshop was playfully concluded with a variation of the game Trivial Pursuit, in which island teams bombarded each other with tough questions about disaster management.

On the second day, the main conclusions from the first day were discussed and the list of upcoming training programmes for 2015 and 2016 was looked into.

There will be a table-top drill held at the end of the year on all three islands and the potential scenarios for the drills were discussed. Each island gave input on which scenarios they would like to see, so that all players can get the most out of the exercise, especially persons on the ground, such as emergency- service personnel.

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