Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar inaugurated, on April 19, 2022, the 8th edition of two-day National Level Pollution Response Exercise, ‘NATPOLREX-VIII’, being conducted by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) off Mormugao harbour, Goa. The marine spill preparedness exercise was inaugurated by the Defence Secretary in the presence of Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr M Ravichandran, Director General ICG Shri VS Pathania, DG South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) Dr Md Masumur Rahman and various senior dignitaries from Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, National Disaster Response Force, India Meteorological Department, Indian Navy and State Pollution Control Board, Goa. The event is being attended by more than 85 participants from 50 agencies, including 29 observers from 22 friendly foreign countries & International Organisations and two Coast Guard ships from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The objective of NATPOLREX-VIII is to enhance the preparedness and response capability of all the stakeholders in combating marine spills. It aims at validating the procedures and guidelines as contained in the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP) at the national and regional levels under the aegis of SACEP MoU to which India is a member state. During the exercise, various components of NOSDCP were invoked to validate and improve the contingency plans and evaluate preparedness of the resource agencies as well as stakeholders to meet any marine spill disaster at sea.
During the exercise, 13 ships and 10 aircraft from ICG, one C-131 aircraft from the Indian Air Force, two ships from SACEP member states viz. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and one Offshore Supply vessel (OSV) from ONGC, assets from Shipping Corporation of India and tugs from Mormugao Port Trust demonstrated containment cum marine spill recovery by side sweeping arms, deployment of booms and skimmers, streaming of single ship operated containment cum recovery system, firefighting drill, rescue operation, and demonstration of surface and air oil spill dispersant systems.
The exercise is being coordinated by ICG encompassing assets from resource agencies and stakeholders including Ports, Oil Handling Agencies, Coastal States/Union Territories and other resource agencies. The exercise consisted of a two-day programme featuring table-top exercise, pollution response workshop on marine Oil and HNS spill followed by exercise at sea, which was reviewed by Chairman NOSDCP in presence of National and International Observers.
Besides NATPOLREX, ICG is concurrently conducting a capacity building professional training course in Marine Oil Response and Preparedness for 45 international participants from 18 countries including member states from Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) at Chennai from April 18-29, 2022.