OILSAREX project develops exercise operation concept for maritime rescue and environmental damage prevention

The Finnish Border Guard is a leading maritime rescue authority and is responsible for preventing environmental damage at sea. The Border Guard is continuously developing maritime rescue preparedness in the Baltic Sea region and drawing on the lessons learned to develop preparedness for environmental damage prevention.

Maritime rescue and the prevention of oil spills are often closely linked. Vessel accident rescue measures which are initiated as a maritime rescue operation to save human life often continue as an operation to prevent or control environmental damage. This is particularly the case in archipelago regions, but also occurs in open sea conditions.

The Finnish Border Guard is developing its performance and capacity for maritime rescue and environmental damage prevention through measures such as practice exercises. The OILSAREX project combines all of these: maritime rescue, environmental damage prevention and exercise operations. Multilateral, international exercise operations improve the overall practical performance level and cooperation between authorities in the Baltic Sea region. It is vital to practise joint operations in order to respond as effectively as possible to potential real accidents.

The OILSAREX project focuses on developing the planning, implementation and evaluation of exercise operations. The development of the planning and evaluation of exercise operations will increase the performance level of maritime rescue operations and operations to prevent environmental damage in both Finland and the whole Baltic Sea region, and this will in turn improve maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment.

The exercise operation concept being developed through the project is a flexible model that can be utilised in the planning, organisation and evaluation of different exercises. During the project, the concept is being tested and evaluated through activities such as international table top operations and joint exercise operations.

The project is receiving funding from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Cooperation Fund for the Baltic Sea, Barents Sea and Arctic Region (IBA) and is being led by the Finnish Border Guard. The first phase of the project is being implemented in 2019 and 2020.

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