BSC

The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Permanent Secretariat

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Oil spill preparedness exercises in the Black Sea

The Article IX of Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (the Bucharest Convention) urges its Contracting Parties to “cooperate in order to prevent, reduce and combat pollution of the marine environment of the Black Sea resulting from emergency situations in accordance with the Protocol on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and Other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations”, or so called Emergency Protocol.

The Article II of the Emergency Protocol states that “the Contracting Parties shall endeavour to maintain and promote either individually or through bilateral or multilateral co-operation, contingency plans for combating pollution of the sea by oil and other harmful substances”.

In order to achieve the abovementioned goals, the Contracting Parties have agreed to adopt the Black Sea Regional Contingency Plan (hereinafter referred to as RCP) for responding promptly and effectively to marine pollution incidents affecting or likely to affect the Black Sea environment.

In accordance with RCP, the Contracting Parties shall conduct periodically (at least once a year) joint training courses and/or joint exercises. The main objectives of these training courses and exercises shall be:

The Plan requires that:

The Contracting Parties further developed the Draft Guidelines for Oil Spill Exercises under the Black Sea Contingency Plan (Draft Guidelines) and agreed on the Long-term Plan for the Oil spill preparedness exercises in the Black Sea (Plan of Exercises)

These Draft Guidelines have been developed by the AG ESAS and include the following Types of Exercises:

BLACK SEA BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA and ECHO exercises can be executed independently or in combination with each other.

TheThe agreed schedule of exercises is set out in Annex IX of the Black Sea Regional Contingency Plan (long-term plan of exercises in the Black Sea region). For ease of reference the Long-Term Plan of Exercises in the Black Sea region has been also attached as Annex 1 to the Draft Guidelines.

Synthetic or Table-top Exercise (BLACK SEA ALPHA):

This exercise type is a ‘paper exercise’, the aim of which is to create a base for discussion on matters relating to organization, communication, logistics, etc. in combating actions involving two or more Contracting Parties.

The exercise will normally take place during meetings of the AG ESAS.

The outline of the exercise is pre-planned in such a way that the players will be presented with a scenario of a pollution incident giving such facts of the incident that most probably would be at hand in the initial phase.

The situation in the initial phase will be followed by presentations of the situation as it has developed at certain chosen later stages.

After each presentation the players are given the necessary time to consider their national follow-up action in relation to the incident situation.

TheThe national follow-up actions are then presented and discussed.

Alarm or Communication Exercise (BLACK SEA BRAVO):

The aim of this exercise type is to test the agreed procedures and lines of communication for reporting, requesting and providing assistance, and to get a picture of the current response readiness of the Contracting Parties when called to assist.

The exercise further aims at familiarizing the personnel with the use and national handling of the adopted POLREP reporting form.p>

It is not the intention with this exercise that combating equipment and its handling personnel should be activated.

When receiving an exercise POLREP (POLWARN) the participating Contracting Parties should record the time of receipt, time of transmission to the responsible national authority and time of the receipt of POLREP (POLWARN) by the person responsible for initiating further national action.

When receiving an exercise POLREP (POLINF/POLFAC) in addition to the times recorded as for POLREP (POLWARN) the participating Contracting Parties should make a realistic evaluation of the types and the amount of equipment and personnel at their disposal for rendering assistance called for, as well as the time for its arrival at the scene of the accident.

After the termination of each exercise the participating Contracting Parties shall submit a report containing the above mentioned times and evaluations to the Lead State. The Lead State should compile this information in a report, which should be sent to the BSC Permanent Secretariat for further circulation to other Contracting Parties in order to have the report presented and discussed at the following meeting of the AG ESAS.

BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercises are executed without notice but within a specified period of time (normally with in a calendar week).

BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercises can be carried out in turn between two or more Contracting Parties, and the arrangement and the initiation of the exercise are undertaken by representatives of the Parties involved and assisted by the BSC, if needed.

The Initiating Party shall develop a realistic exercise scenario, on which the BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercise is based.

BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercises shall be initiated with a POLREP (POLWARN) message submitted by the Initiating Party to National Contact Points of participating Parties and identified in Annex 1 of the Black Sea Contingency Plan.

The initial POLREP (POLWARN) and subsequent messages related to the present BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercise shall be submitted in writing by a relevant electronic means of communication to the National Contact Point(s) identified in Annex 1 of the Black Sea Contingency Plan or any other address identified during the present BLACK SEA BRAVO Exercise.

In cases where e-mails are used as means of communication an “Automatic confirmation of receipt” could be used. However, a request for “acknowledge” should always be responded to.

TheThe Competent National Operational Authorities of the Parties shall ensure that all operational duty personnel are familiar with the present Exercise Guidelines and the communication procedures set out in the Black Sea Contingency Plan.

Equipment Deployment Exercise (BLACK SEA CHARLIE):

The purpose of this exercise is to test the co-operation between the combating units of the Contracting Parties with respect to both communication and equipment. Involvement of personnel - except those needed for running the equipment - should be very restricted.

BLACK SEA CHARLIE Exercises are carried out between two or more Contracting Parties with bordering Areas of Responsibility.

Notice as to the time and event is to be given well in advance of the exercise, and the Contracting Parties not taking part in the exercise and the Secretariat shall be invited to send observers to the exercise.

When planning the date for the execution of the exercise a back-up date should be held in reserve. The participating Contracting Parties must be informed as soon as possible and at least three days in advance if the exercise has to be executed on the back-up date or altogether cancelled.

Reports on the exercise should be sent from the Lead State to the BSC Permanent Secretariat for further circulation to other Contracting Parties in order to have the report presented and discussed at the following meeting of the AG ESAS.

BLABLACK SEA CHARLIE Exercises are arranged and executed after direct consultation between the Contracting Parties involved.

Operational Exercise (BLACK SEA DELTA):

The aim of this exercise type is partly to test the alarm and communication procedures, the response capability, and the response time of the Contracting Parties, partly to test and train the staff functions and the co-operation between response units (including the response equipment) of the Contracting Parties.

BLACK SEA DELTA Exercises are carried out bi-annually (every two years), with the execution of exercises rotating between the Contracting Parties. The meetings of the AG ESAS will develop and agree to an Exercise Programme covering two years or more ahead, as appropriate. The Exercise Programme will state who should arrange and host the coming exercises and what should be the aims of these exercises.

The Long-term Exercise Plan is set out in Annex IX of the Black Sea Contingency Plan and in Annex 1 of the present Guidelines.

The agreed Lead State has the overall responsibility to plan and execute the exercise (see further 10.5, section 1).

At the discretion of the Lead State other relevant and realistic elements of an accident at sea may be included in the Exercise BLACK SEA DELTA scenario, i.e.: Search and Rescue (SAR), fire fighting, emergency transfer of cargo, claims and compensation, shore-line clean-up, wild life protection and restoration etc.

Also custom and immigration procedures in connection with import and export of emergency response personnel and equipment might be considered as exercise elements.

Further, the application of dispersants might be considered as a response option during a BLACK SEA DELTA Exercise. If this option is used, national procedures of approval and spraying limitations should be included as incidents in the exercise planning.

Taking into consideration that different Time Zones apply to the Black Sea region the “Exercise Time” in use should be clarified. The use of UTS-time as “Exercise Time” should be considered as an option.

Custom and Immigration clearance for participating units of other Parties could be time consuming, why it is recommended to allow one extra day for foreign units prior to the execution day of the BLACK SEA DELTA Exercise.

A report, evaluating the results of the exercise and making recommendations for improvements to the Black Sea Regional Contingency plan, as appropriate, should be send to the BSC Permanent Secretariat for distribution to the Contracting Parties in order to have the report presented and discussed at the following meeting of the AG ESAS (see further section on Planning and Evaluation of BLACK SEA DELTA Exercises).

WhiWhile participation in the exercise is voluntary, it is recommended that at least the neighbouring countries participate.

State-of-the-art Exercise (BLACK SEA ECHO)

The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate the state-of-the-art of a specific topic, e.g. a type of equipment, a response method, and means of communication or scientific tests. Traditional operational response activities will not form a part of this type of exercise.

As the aim of BLACK SEA ECHO Exercises is to demonstrate the-state-of-the-art, great emphasis should be given to inviting relevant observers from the Contracting Parties and relevant international organizations, as appropriate.

The exercise should be followed by an immediate exercise briefing in order to benefit from the remarks from the observers. The Lead State should send a report of the exercise to the BSC P Permanent Secretariat for further distribution to the Contracting Parties in order to have the report presented and discussed at the following meeting of the AG ESAS.

Procedures for the Exercises

To identify exercise traffic and to avoid conflict with exercises undertaken within other agreements, the text of all messages (both to and from the Lead State) shall begin with the words: "EXERCISE BLACK SEA".

All messages shall end with the words: "EXERCISE-EXERCISE-EXERCISE".

At the end of each exercise the Lead State shall send a final "End of exercise" message to all Parties concerned.

In In cases where e-mails are used as means of communication an “Automatic confirmation of receipt” could be used. However, a request for “acknowledge” shall always be responded to.

Exercises Reports:

After an exercise the Lead State shall prepare a brief report for submission to the Permanent Secretariat of BSCt1:stockticker> for distribution to other Contracting Parties and to AG ESAS for consideration at its next meeting. The final report, including comments by AG ESAS shall be submitted to the next Meeting of BSC or Contracting Parties for information and approval/adoption, as appropriate (for reports from BLACK SEA DELTA Exercises, see further section on Planning and Evaluation of BLACK SEA DELTA Exercises of the Draft Guidelines).

The report should, as a minimum, cover the following items:

1. Preparation of the exercise:

2. Implementation of the exercise:

3. Participating Contracting Parties:

4. Running and finalization of exercise:

Under this heading a brief description of following items (if applicable) should be given:

5. Comments of the participating Contracting Parties:

A brief summary of comments received from each participating Parties. Only comments on important matters should be mentioned.

6. Conclusion:

Tables, statistics, figures or pictures can be added as necessary under each item as annexes at the end of the heading.

As it mentioned above, the Long-term Plan for the Oil spill preparedness exercises in the Black Sea was annexed to the Draft Guidelines.

The responsibility for planning of exercises will in general rotate among the Parties in alphabetically order. However, if a Party is unable to plan and host a scheduled exercise (i.e. due to financial constrains), then a volunteer is sought.

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2014