SCOPE (Skagerak Chemical Oilspill Pollution Exercise) 2017 is a joint project of the Nordic countries, co-funded by the European Union, and is organised by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA). The exercise was conducted over three days and involved 600 people and 30 vessels. The exercise scenario involved a simulated collision between a chemical tanker and an oil tanker, which resulted in oil and ammonia gas leakage in an environmentally sensitive area in Norway’s Telemark county. SCOPE 2017 comprised a full-scale ground deployment and incident management exercise. The NCA mobilized government, municipal and private resources, and requested international assistance to deal with the pollution incident. Johan Marius Ly, NCA’s Director of Emergency Response, said, “Good coordination across neighboring countries and various organizations is essential to respond swiftly and capably to major spill incidents. Indeed, multi stakeholder efforts to conduct joint spill exercises like SCOPE 2017 will help to improve our spill response strategies.”
“I am pleased to say the SCOPE 2017 exercise went as planned and demonstrated our collective readiness and capabilities in the event of such an occurrence. I wish to thank all stakeholders – government agencies, the EU, ship operators and public and private sector resource units – for making this exercise possible. It demonstrates that we, together, have well coordinated and competent response teams on all levels.”“The SCOPE 2017 exercise is a good opportunity for us to hone our response strategies and share best practices,” added NCA’s Stig Walhstrøm, project manager for the exercise. “It enabled us to test ourselves and there’s been a high level of learning and competence sharing throughout the planning phase and actual exercise.” Walhstrøm also pointed out that one of the key goals of the project is to forge critical national and international cooperation. “All participating nations and organisations have taken the opportunity to train in leadership and collaboration, and it’s pleasing to see their strong interest and engagement throughout the exercise, which was carried out with no accidents.” The SCOPE 2017 project is now entering the evaluation phase and is expected to continue until the end of 2018.
“We have established an evaluation team and they have been tasked to identify lessons learned and areas of improvements. All participants are encouraged to provide feedback so that the we, collectively, are able to further improve our strategies and practices to raise the overall level of safety in our waters,” concludes Walhstrøm.