Transport Malta (TM) has successfully closed the project “Oil/HNS Spill Response Capacity Building for the Protection of Malta’s Seas” during a closing event held yesterday. The aims of the project were mainly to address training requirements at a national level in case of Tier 2 or Tier 3 spills, establish a training programme once the training needs have been identified, and address pollution from oil offshore drilling operations within and outside of Malta’s territorial waters.
Following a series of successful projects which the maritime sector has already been involved in, the Maltese Government through TM, has embarked on this project part-financed by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – through the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism.
The project had two main phases. The first one included Procurement of the services of a consultant to carry out studies to address pollution risks from the oil industry offshore operations within and outside Malta’s territorial waters. The second part involved the procurement of the services of a consultant to study and identify emergency response requirements and devise the training programme for oil / HNS pollution at sea, Provision of training courses as identified in the studies and the upgrading of training equipment and facilities. All pre-defined output indicators have been successfully reached by the end of the project with more than 120 persons attended the various training courses. The Authority managed to record a considerable amount of savings which were utilised by procuring additional equipment related to oil pollution response.
Following the termination of this project, a “Working Group” chaired by Transport Malta, will be established to increase the level of preparedness in our Islands and will keep on implementing requirements under the National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan since the latter needs continuous monitoring and updates. Part of the implementation of the Plan will include conducting oil-spill exercises to increase the level of proficiency.
Through this working group, Transport Malta will ensure that training needs on a national scale will be given a priority. The aim is that apart from exercise any required training will be given by the locally trained personnel where from time to time refresher training will be given and where required new employees will also be trained. Transport Malta partnered with the Norwegian Coastal Administration, known as Kystverket in Norway during the execution of this project . NCA acted as consultants to Transport Malta given their extensive experience in the field of maritime oil spill response. They provided TM with the necessary support during various phases of the project including drafting of tenders, assessing the training proposal and providing specification of equipment. NCA, is an agency of the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs responsible for services related to maritime safety, maritime infrastructure, transport planning and efficiency, and emergency response to acute pollution.