Table top exercise to test the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan with elements of IMS and NEBA

As a signatory to the Oil Spill Response and Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Co-operation (OPRC) Convention and a party to the Abidjan Convention, Ghana is obliged to undertake a number of actions.
These actions include the drawing up of an effective Oil Spill Contingency Plan; co-operation by way of providing assistance to other parties to the Convention in the event of oil spill accidents; ensuring that oil pollution incidents are reported to the competent authorities and the IMO, as appropriate; and the development of a national preparedness capability to deal with oil spill incidents.

To that effect, Ghana, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and with financial assistance from the Danish Consultancy Services, administered by the United Nations Operations Services (UNOPS), developed its National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) in the 1980s as well as its Environmental Sensitivity Map for the coastal Area of Ghana in digital format.

Mr John Pwamang, Acting Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), made these known at the opening of a training workshop at the Institute of Environmental Studies, Amasaman, yesterday.

About 60 participants are attending the four-day workshop which aims to exercise and test the current NOSCP, and build on the previous work of improving and developing Ghana’s capacity to respond to oil spills.

The workshop is providing training to the relevant national authorities on contingency planning, the use of Incident Management Systems (IMS), Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA) and Incident Response Communications.

It will also review the lessons learned from this and recent exercises; and provide insight to the relevant national authorities on how to improve the NOSCP based on the results of the exercise.

The training programme forms part of the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) Project—a co-operation between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues.

GI WACAF, launched in 2006, is jointly funded by the IMO and 7 Oil Companies (BP, Chevron, ENI, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and Woodside) through IPIECA to enhance the capacity of countries to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.

Through workshops, training courses, seminars and deployment exercises the Project, in collaboration with the national authorities in charge of oil spill response and in partnership with local business units, carries out its mission of strengthening the national oil spill response capability of 22 countries ion Western, Central and Southern Africa.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sarpong, Deputy Executive Director, EPA, noted that a fast, efficient and well co-ordinated response to oil spill required the development and continuous improvement of NOSCPs.

Mr Appah-Sarpong said to achieve the highest level of response management effectiveness, preparation for a spill should be a shared responsibility between government and industry, adding that as a regulatory Agency, EPA had ensured that industry prepared and maintained their oil contingency plans in order to be able to respond effectively to spills that might emanate from their activities.

In his remarks, Mr Clement Chazot, IMO/IPIECA-GI WACAF Project Manager, disclosed that since implementation of the project began in 1996, several exercises had been organized for the region and that the on-going workshop was the 12th activity in Ghana.