Franck Laruelle, Phil Ruck and Tim Wadsworth attended the Skagerrak Chemical Oilspill Pollution Exercise (SCOPE) 2017 in Norway from 25th to 28th September. The exercise had a number of components, with related workshops considering questions on Ports of Refuge and Claims Management, funded by the Norwegian government and European Commission. The hypothetical exercise scenario focused upon a collision off Langesund, between an oil tanker in ballast, spilling bunker fuel, and a chemical tanker releasing ammonia and included elements based loosely on the FULL CITY incident in that area in 2009.
During the first day of the exercise Franck and Phil attended the exercise command centre at the headquarters of Norwegian Coastal Administration in Horten, simulating the role of ITOPF during a pollution response. The exercise involved the deployment of response vessels and aircraft from the Norwegian, Swedish, German and Danish governments as well a vessel under contract to the European Maritime Safety Administration (EMSA), to simulate the response to the spill of oil and the release of ammonia. The casualty chemical tanker was represented by an LPG tanker provided to the exercise by Statoil. Tim attended on an observer vessel off Langesund involving presentations on various aspects of the role of the NCA in a response and explaining regional agreements on cooperation activated for the exercise. As well as numerous observers from the European Union member states, observers attended from several East African countries, Myanmar, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The NCA stated around 600 people were involved in the exercise from 44 countries.
For the morning of the second day of the exercise, Franck, Phil and Tim attended with a representative of the IOPC Funds at the NCA headquarters in Horten to discuss a number of issues arising from the scenario, including modelling, compensation and environmental damage. In the afternoon, the EU Claims Management Group met for a separate workshop to discuss general aspects of claims and cost recovery as well as developments with past incidents in EU Member States. Tim presented at the workshop on the 'Role of ITOPF in the Claims Process - Working With Governments' that was well received and generated subsequent discussion. The Claims Management workshop continued on the third day to consider security, claims and cost recovery related to a hypothetical request for a port of refuge for the chemical tanker involved in the exercise collision.
The exercise and workshops were well organised and allowed ITOPF considerable interaction with the Norwegian administration and attendees from the EU and further afield. ITOPF intends to follow up on a number of the issues raised in future discussions.