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Spill Notification Point
Competent National Authority
Draft procedures for oil spill response were in place for a number of years but never officially adopted. In 2017, consultation began on the development of an oil spill response plan in light of recent oil discoveries. A first draft was developed by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), with technical support from the United States Coast Guard. This draft was later updated by the Maritime Administrative Department to incorporate guidelines from IMO and other international standards. In 2018, a National Oil Spill Planning Committee was formed to finalise the plan, with representatives from the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), GGMC, Guyana Energy Agency, Maritime Administration, Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency, with support from RAC-REMPEITC. A national workshop to improve understanding of the contingency planning process and assess the national state of preparedness and response was held in 2019, organised by RAC-REMPEITC and supported by IMO (see meeting report). As at 2019, the draft NOSCP had not yet been finalised or officially approved. According to the Department of Public Information website, a table-top exercise was undertaken in 2020 to test the operation of the plan and further adjustments would be made.
Under the draft plan, the CDC is the designated competent national authority and has overall responsibility for response to oil spill emergencies. The Maritime Administrative Department has been named the National Focal Point for an offshore spill, while the Guyana Energy Agency will have responsibilities for coordinating the operational response, including the establishment of relevant operations centres in the event of a spill.
In 2019, CDC, in collaboration with ExxonMobil, rolled out the oil spill response training component of its Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT) programme, an initiative whereby people from all regions of the country are provided with training in emergency response situations,
Offshore oil production began in Guyana in 2019, and operators in Guyana’s basin are required to have an oil spill plan which must be approved by the CDC. In the event of a spill offshore, each operator is responsible for responding and managing that spill.
Guyana is included in the regional Caribbean Island OPRC Plan, coordinated by RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe. This Plan provides a framework under which island states and territories may cooperate at an operational level in responding to oil spill incidents. The overall objective of the Plan is to provide a cooperative framework for mutual assistance from member states, territories, and organisations in the event of a major oil spill incident which exceeds the response capability of a national government or oil industry.
Draft guidelines on shoreline protection and clean-up policies are contained in the NOSCP, but the policy is still to be developed. It is likely that protection of Guyana’s extensive mangrove stands would be a priority. A list of preapproved dispersants is held by the EPA.
The CDC has begun procuring oil spill response equipment. According to information on the Department of Public Information website, four containers of oil spill response equipment and accessories including booms, skimmers, dispersant, Personal Protective Kits are stored at the CDC’s Alternate National Emergency Operations Centre (ANEOC) at Timehri (2019). The equipment is due to be pre-positioned at various locations to facilitate easy and timely deployment, should the need arise.
ExxonMobil, with support from the CDC, has organised response training for representatives from state bodies and volunteers.
Gaico Construction Inc has an oil and gas support services arm and provides oil spill response and waste management services and equipment, in partnership with a Finnish company. In 2019, it was reported to be opening a privately owned oil spill response centre at its Georgetown Wharf.
Oil companies operating in Guyana would be expected to have their own plans and equipment.
Previous Spill Experience
ITOPF has not attended any spills in Guyana and is not aware of any major incidents in the country.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
Operative Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities of South America, Mexico, Panama & Cuba (ROCRAM).
In 2010, Guyana acceded to the Cartagena Convention and all three of its protocols including the “Protocol Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region”.
Date of issue: June 2020
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