CDC hosts major oil spill response workshop ahead of exercise to test Guyana’s capabilities

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Guyana’s Civil Defence Commission (CDC) is partnering with US State agencies, Pacific Disaster Center, ExxonMobil, and the French and Canadian Armed Forces to build the South American country’s National Oil Spill Capabilities.

The Commission on Thursday collaborated with regional and international partners to host an Oil Spill Capabilities Workshop as part of Tradewinds 2021. The workshop aimed to connect the skills and resources of the partner countries and agencies with the CDC’s local stakeholders to enhance their abilities and increase knowledge in oil spill response and management.

U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), French Armed Forces of the Antilles, Canadian Armed Forces and ExxonMobil along with the Guyana Oil Spill Committee participated in the exercise.

During the workshop, CDC Director-General Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig disclosed that the new oil producing country will be testing its capacity to respond to an oil spill at Exercise Tradewinds which is slated for June 2021.

Exercise Tradewinds is a regional exercise held annually to test the security apparatus of the military, police forces and other security elements in the Region. It also examines humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The Director-General said while the operation is usually centred around relief for natural disasters, it is necessary at this time to test Guyana’s oil spill response capabilities.

Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig

“This year, we would have changed the focus to look at our oil spill response capabilities or our oil spill response plan and primarily because Guyana is a new oil and gas country and we have also just completed our National Oil Spill Contingency Plan,” he said. “So, we think it is timely that we can use this forum to strengthen our oil spill response systems, to test our oil spill response mechanism and to see where best resources are available locally and overseas and within the region, where we can get assistance from our counterparts.”

He said Exercise Tradewinds 2021 would feature the scenario of a tanker transporting bunkered crude colliding with a fishing trawler, causing a discharge of crude into the Demerara River. It would also include the likelihood of an explosion and fire.

The objectives of the exercise are to activate and test the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and to test the operator’s response mechanism and equipment deployment.

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