National Oil Spill Contingency Plan in operation

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has begun the operationalisation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, with the hosting of a simulation exercise to test Guyana’s response capability.

The exercise formed part of the lead up to Operation Tradewinds to be hosted here in June.

Operation Tradewinds is conducted in conjunction with partner nations to enhance the collective abilities of defence forces and constabularies to counter transnational organised crime and to perform humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

CDC Director-General, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig explained that Wednesday’s Oil Spill Table Top Exercise was one of the steps of the operationalisation of the National Contingency Plan.

“Coming out of the exercise, further adjustments will be made to the plan because you don’t quite understand the roles and responsibilities until you test it.”

The final draft of Guyana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan was completed in November 2019. Lt Col. Craig told participants that the development of the contingency capabilities would be an ongoing process.

The way this exercise will be done is that there are going to be several injects via email, maybe via text messages, WhatsApp and maybe a runner just coming and give you a message and you will be broken up into different groups which are outlined in the National Oil Spill Contingency plan.”

He explained that there are various sectors outlined in the plan such as finance, health and environmental protection and emphasised the need for persons to understand their roles and responsibilities.

Representatives from NASA, the Canadian military, US Coast Guard, and local agencies such as the EPA and WWF Guyana attended the one-day workshop.