Response to marine pollution: Simulation exercise off Skikda – May 10, 2011

SKIKDA - A marine pollution simulation exercise was carried out by the Tel Bahr Committee on Tuesday 10th May 2011, off the coast of the Skikda, to strengthen coordination between civilian and military structures involved. Initiated and led by the Tel Bahr Committee of the Wilaya of Skikda, in collaboration with the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment and under the supervision of the Coast Guard Commander of the Eastern region, this exercise aimed at:

• Strengthening existing experience in surveillance and response at sea;
• Assessing the readiness of stakeholders;
• Testing response timing and technologies;
• Strengthen marine pollution response and identify any gaps in view of improving the system.

Following the approved scenario, a merchant ship entered in collision with a loading tanker causing a release of a large quantity of crude oil and the lost a crew overboard.

Immediately after the outbreak, the oil pollution emergency plan is activated. The sub-regional operations center  of Skikda, acting under the instructions of the regional center for monitoring and rescue operations of Jijel (CROSS), carried out rescue operation deploying its new helicopter and dispatched onsite an investigation team to assess the situation. The emergency plan Tel- Bahr has deployed all the necessary human and material resources, including fishing boats, speedboats, helicopters and monitoring aircraft.

This exercise which involved more than 20 vessels, 2 helicopters, 1 aircraft and more than 100 persons from various sectors illustrates the need to conduct regular large scale exercises to test the entire response system at local or national level.

Representatives of France, Spain and REMPEC attended the exercise as observers. Spain and France have signed or are about to sign with Algeria a bilateral agreement on marine pollution response and salvage operations.