Dr Karen Purnell
Paper presented at Spillcon 2002, Sydney, Australia, 16-19 September 2002
This paper reviews some of the commonly experienced lessons to be learned during oil spill response. From an ITOPF perspective, good management and co-ordination is the key to a successful response. It is also the area that most often falls short of the ideal when a real incident occurs. Rather than reacting in an ad-hoc fashion following a major incident, quiet periods should be utilised to review past oil spill experiences, update contingency plans and train personnel as part of a sustainable programme of improving preparedness. Although some may argue that there is no substitute for the real thing, in a climate of declining frequency of oil spills, training and exercises are important for teaching the basics of oil spill response and ensuring that a constant preparedness is maintained. Previous incidents provide the ideal opportunity to supplement this training, inject realism, and hopefully, promote better understanding of the practicalities and limitations of oil spill response.