The Irish Coast Guard has launched the new ‘Oil/HNS Contingency Plan Approval Portal’ which will support contingency planning for oil spills.
It marks a further milestone in the implementation of the National Maritime Oil/HNS Spill Contingency Plan 2020 and will improve the national regime of preparedness and response to pollution incidents.
In line with the Government’s Digital Agenda the new system will streamline the interaction between Ports, Local Authorities and Offshore Operators with the Coast Guard and Department in relation to oil spill contingency planning, reducing administrative burden and ensuring that their plans are reviewed and approved in a tight timeframe.
Eugene Clonan, Director of the Irish Coast Guard said: “The Irish Coast Guard is responsible for developing an effective plan for incidents of pollution by oil and HNS. The portal will play an important role in streamlining our preparation for incidents and supporting our response to them. It will allow information to be readily available to stakeholders and enable further coordination between the Irish Coast Guard, Government and non-Government entities.”
Capt. Hugh Conlon, service user at Shannon Foynes Port said: “During testing the Portal was interactive and easy to navigate. The plan format is well laid out and facilitates the input of necessary information to complete. It ensures all plans submitted follow a pre-set layout for ease in timely approval. The completed plan will knit with and develop on the National Maritime Oil/HNS Contingency Plan and ensure local response is compatible. The portal will also ensure that local plans are easily available to the Irish Coast Guard to monitor actions during an incident.”
In April 2017, a training exercise to test the response capabilities of Shannon Foynes Port Company, local authorities and other organisations who operate in the vicinity of the Shannon Estuary took place at Spanish Point, County Clare.
The simulated event, which was hosted by Clare County Council on behalf of the Shannon Estuary Anti-Pollution Team (SEA-PT), centred on a major spillage of crude oil from an exploration platform located approximately 220km off the south west coast of Ireland with oil coming ashore at Spanish Point.