Strengthening common reaction capacity to fight se.. (HAZADR)
Strengthening common reaction capacity to fight sea pollution of oil, toxic and hazardous substances in Adriatic Sea
Start date: Sep 30, 2012,
End date: Mar 30, 2015
The Adriatic Sea is one of the most endangered areas in the Mediterranean, facing serious environmental challenges, especially taking into consideration that it constitutes an important oil transport route to the North-Adriatic ports of Trieste, Venice, Koper and Omišalj. From an economic point of view, the Adriatic region plays an important role in tourism and recreation, but is at the same time one of the most developed industrial areas. However, the risk and threat of sea pollution by oil, and hazardous and noxious substances may have equally disastrous consequences for the delicate environment and important sea-based economic activities. Generally speaking, this area has been affected by numerous maritime incidents which luckily caused no significant damage to the environment. However, the 2008 incident with the Turkish ship «UND ADRIYATIK» revealed the lack of organization and ability of regions and counties on both sides of the Adriatic to deal with such incidents at sea. The event had no consequences, but this was mostly due to luck rather than to the level of preparedness of response teams. This unsatisfactory situation can be put down to the lack of equipment of regions and counties, inadequately trained and non-qualified personnel and extremely poor cross-border coordination among bodies involved in the implementation of contingency plans. Furthermore, there is no Adriatic training and research centre, while some Adriatic countries – and a large number of regions – have no contingency plans, making matters even worse. Generally, the disregard for the marine environment and the alarming lack of preparedness for disasters at sea have prompted this project which, in the long term, intends to improve the knowledge and preparedness of operational staff, especially that of response teams of all Adriatic states, and their ability to readily respond to major pollution incidents. Namely, this project aims to address concrete problems and needs identified in existing European policies and strategies on sea protection, while at national and regional level it is based on an analysis of the level of preparedness of project partners. The project envisages the setting up of a training and research centre for combating oil spills, and spills of hazardous and noxious substances, which will primarily function as a training and research institution for all Adriatic states with the task of training personnel, especially response teams, involved in the implementation of contingency plans. The project also proposes to organize cross-border exercises according to predetermined scenarios to establish the degree of operational preparedness, improve cooperation, and coordinate and speed up the response. Furthermore, under the project it is envisaged to create a common database on the availability and state of repair and spatial distribution of spill response equipment in Adriatic countries. An additional activity shall be the analysis of general and specific regulations governing protection of the sea with a view to identifying common solutions for harmonizing response procedures at sea. This shall result in Guidelines for the elaboration of contingency plans in regions (states) where no such plans exist, or updating of existing plans, as it appears that each country drafts such plans according to its own methodology, thus leading to diverging response procedures and measures in case of sea pollution. On the other hand recommendations shall be prepared and submitted to the relevant national, regional and EU bodies as well as international organizations in order to point out the need for harmonizing contingency plans. In addition, the project shall have a positive impact on reducing external costs to the economy arising from environment protection (e.g. compensation for pollution damages) and create the prerequisites for economic growth and sustainable development of coastal regions and counties.
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