Lessons for all shared at Spillcon 2013

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 44, August 2013

Lessons from New Zealand’s response to the Rena grounding and oil spill were among the experiences shared during an international conference in Australia in April.
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Maritime New Zealand ©2020
During the conference, delegates were treated to an aerial and on-water display of oil spill response equipment on the Cairns waterfront.

A 10-strong contingent from MNZ and its Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) attended the Asia-Pacific Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Conference (or Spillcon), held this year in Cairns, North Queensland. Also attending were others from New Zealand’s regional authorities and MNZ’s partner agencies.

Hosted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the conference theme of “Global, Regional, Local” reflected the diverse but interrelated range of agencies and organisations who attended from across Australasia.

MNZ General Manager Nigel Clifford’s presentation focused on lessons learned during the community releations response.
Maritime New Zealand ©2020

Around 500 delegates from 25 countries representing oil spill response agencies and the petroleum and maritime industries, attended the conference, along with spill equipment exhibitors.

“With hundreds of delegates from so many countries across the Asia-Pacific region attending, the conference was a great opportunity to learn, to share common experiences, and to discuss emerging issues that affect our precious marine environment and our ability to protect it,” said MNZ Director Keith Manch.

“There were many excellent speakers and presentations that provided much food for thought and the opportunity for further discussion on how we can do things more effectively and efficiently,” he said.

Among a panel to give presentations on behalf of New Zealand were MNZ General Manager Safety and Response Services Nigel Clifford, former MNZ Senior Media Advisor Ross Henderson, and Tauranga based communications consultant Bruce Fraser.

MNZ Authority Chair David Ledson chaired this panel, which discussed various aspects of the Rena spill response. The presentations focused respectively on lessons learned during the community, media and volunteer coordination roles performed during the response, and were well received by the other delegates.

More than 35 international speakers presented on a diverse array of topics. These ranged from recent developments in spill response compensation and regulation, to the ongoing and technically challenging salvage of the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia.

Former MPRS General Manager Nick Quinn (now with the Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre) provided an interesting presentation on industry cooperation for offshore spills and former Northland Harbourmaster Ian Niblock (now Darwin Harbourmaster) presented on lessons from the Eline Enterprise incident in Darwin Harbour.

During the week-long conference, delegates were treated to an on-water and aerial display of oil spill response equipment on the Cairns waterfront, while a number of international exhibitors filled part of the Cairns Convention Centre to profile the latest spill response equipment and technology. A series of workshops held before and after the conference also allowed delegates to discuss important issues in more detail.

“Since the last Spillcon in 2010, there have been a number of marine pollution and salvage incidents, including the Rena grounding, that have occurred across Australasia, so it was a timely opportunity for all of us involved in preparing and responding to these incidents to come together to share our experiences,” Keith said.

“MNZ will also continue to work with its local, regional and global partners to ensure New Zealand’s spill preparedness and response mechanisms remain relevant, safe and effective.”

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