The Finnish Border Guard is a leading maritime rescue authority and is responsible for marine pollution response. The Border Guard is continuously developing maritime rescue preparedness in the Baltic Sea region and drawing on the lessons learned to develop preparedness for marine pollution response.

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 marine pollution response through measures such as practice exercises. The OILSAREX project combines all of these: maritime rescue, marine pollution response 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 marine pollution response operations 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 was being tested and evaluated through activities such as international table top operations and joint exercise operations.

The project received funding from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Cooperation Fund for the Baltic Sea, Barents Sea and Arctic Region (IBA) and was led by the Finnish Border Guard.

OILSAREX − A guide to organising exercises for maritime search and rescue and marine environment response (pdf)

Video: Protecting the Baltic Sea – marine pollution response exercise Balex Delta 2021 (


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OILSAREX logo      Logo. Ministery for Foreign Affairs of Finland.