Operational plans and procedures for maritime search and rescue in HNS incidents
ChemSAR
 
PROGRAMME 2014-2020
priority
3 Transport
objective
3.3 Martime safety

ChemSAR

The Interreg project ChemSAR provided national rescue authorities and services around the Baltic Sea with operational plans and common procedures to harmonise maritime search and rescue (SAR) operations in incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances (HNS), and by this to save more lives.
The challenge

Lack of common procedures

There are about 2,000 commercial vessels operating in the Baltic Sea at any given minute and tens millions of tons of chemicals transported along. So far, there have been 100-200 incidents with commercial vessels reported annually. Due to an increasing amount of traffic in the Baltic Sea, traffic intersections and difficult waters, the probability of a largescale maritime incident remains high.

Incidents are transnational by nature

No country around the Baltic Sea has sufficient resources to tackle incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) on its own, hence almost any maritime chemical incident is international by nature. However, there are no standardised procedures that national rescue authorities and rescue services could use in case of maritime HNS incidents to harmonise joint search and rescue (SAR) operations.

Budgets

ChemSAR
in numbers
  • 2.48
    Million
    Total
  • 1.89
    Million
    Erdf
  • 0.00
    Million
    Eni + Russia
  • 0.00
    Million
    Norway

Achievements

New procedures in place

The ChemSAR partners have jointly developed the first in the Baltic Sea region Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for search and rescue (SAR) operations applicable to hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) incidents. The procedures were tested in table top exercises and simulations, and piloted in a live rescue exercise held on Estonian waters in September 2018 with over 100 role players, evaluators, and observers from eight countries. The procedures enable rescue maritime authorities and services to analyse capacities and capabilities, procedures and operational models in countries around the Baltic Sea, and to respond to HNS incidents in a more coordinated manner. The ready-made checklists additionally help harmonise e.g. assessing an incident, determining a restriction area, evaluating or decontaminating procedures.

Step by step in use

The ChemSAR operational plans and procedures are now compiled in a Handbook for Maritime SAR in HNS Incidents. The Finnish Border Guard, which coordinates rescue operations in Finland, uses the handbook in practice. The organisation also brought it up to the discussion at the HELCOM Response Working Group. The handbook is a guiding tool for rescue organisations in Sweden and Estonia too, including the Joint Response Coordination Centre Tallinn and Estonian Rescue Board. It is a reference document for rescue operations for the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

Towards standardisation

In most countries around the Baltic Sea, responsibility for dealing with HNS incidents is shared among several organisations. For this reason, it is a lengthy process until all organisations in all countries fully coordinate their operations. ChemSAR eLearning tool and chemical databank contribute to assimilating the guidelines into national procedures faster.

Further dissemination work of ChemSAR achievements is continued by the ResQU2 platform. The platform aims at improving preparedness of rescue authorities and services around the Baltic Sea to cope with incidents at sea and in ports, also those with hazardous and noxious substances.

ChemSAR matters

The Interreg project ChemSAR used EUR 1.89 million from the European Union to develop common operational plans and procedures for search and rescue operations in incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances. It offers ready-made tools for rescue authorities and services around the Baltic Sea to harmonise rescue operations, and in this way to save more lives and reduce the harm to the environment at the same time.

Now, the ChemSAR core partners contribute to the ResQU2 project platform that further develops the expertise of national authorities and rescue services to cope with accidents in the Baltic Sea and in ports, including those involving hazardous substances.

Outputs

Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for Maritime Search and Rescue Operations Involving HNS Incidents

The Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) developed by ChemSAR support national maritime rescue authorities and services around the Baltic Sea in conducting maritime search and rescue operations in incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances (HNS). The procedures complemented by checklists and operational plans ensure more efficient use of human and technical resources, and help rescue crews to work together in a more coordinated manner.

ChemSAR Chemical Dataportal

The ChemSAR Chemical Dataportal is an online tool that helps national maritime rescue authorities and services find relevant information relevant to rescue operations where hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) are involved. It helps plan and respond to chemical emergencies at sea as vast amount of information on HNS can be accessed fast and in practical form, also via mobile devices.

ChemSAR eLearning Material

The eLearning material helps maritime rescue authorities and services improve knowledge of responding to chemical emergencies at sea. The training is based on the ChemSAR operational plan and standard operational procedures and framed into subunits, reflecting the standard operational procedures. The training includes pretests and quizzes.

Project Stories

Partners

University of Turku

  • Town
    TURKU
  • Region
    Varsinais-Suomi
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
679,640.00
60.451753122.2670522

Finnish Border Guard

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
700,000.00
60.167488124.9427473

Novia University of Applied Sciences

  • Town
    Main office: Vaasa Project: Turku
  • Region
    Varsinais-Suomi
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
157,484.00
63.109341721.5879482

City of Helsinki

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
20,160.00
60.167488124.9427473

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board

  • Town
    Tallinn
  • Region
    Põhja-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
179,795.00
59.437215524.7453688

Swedish Coast Guard

  • Town
    Karlskrona
  • Region
    Blekinge län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
274,525.00
56.162107315.5866422

Klaipėda university

  • Town
    Klaipėda
  • Region
    Klaipėdos apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
107,263.75
55.712752921.1350469

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

  • Town
    Hamburg
  • Region
    Hamburg
  • Country
    Germany
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
217,795.00
53.55034110.000654

Central Command for Maritime Emergencies Germany

  • Town
    Cuxhaven
  • Region
    Cuxhaven
  • Country
    Germany
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
144,460.00
53.868788.698286

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