There has been a decrease in the oil spills and oil tankers today. However, there is a requirement for the coastal nations to be prepared for any emergency.
To support the national capacity, bi-lateral, multi-lateral and international cooperation and assistance for the preparation in case of spills and response is crucial.
The eighth Regional Conference of the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF) that was held in Cape Town, South Africa (28-31 October), this was mentioned.
This project is in collaboration between IMO and IPIECA so as to improve the response capability against oil spill in west, central and southern Africa. It helps in building mutual cooperation and helps the countries to improve their response capacity for oil spills. The region that is covered comprises major oil producing states like Angola and Nigeria and is vulnerable to major volumes of maritime traffic.
In the conference, it was seen that in the past two year about 16 national and sub regional activities have taken place that covers various aspects of preparedness and response for oil spill. It also comprised a transboundary oil spill response that included Angola and Namibia in August of this year.
The engagement and collaboration with various entities that is a part of the preparedness for oil spills is major thing to make sure that the approach is coordinated and consistent. Some delegate nations were also interested to explore the possibility of performing more of exercises a response to oil spills along with the neighbouring countries so to try to understand and address the challenges in a better way that come up in time of actual incident.
The delegates are mentioned and agreed to the requirement to move forward with the implementation in the national legislation in the countries of the regions of the necessary IMO conventions that are related to spill preparation and response like the International Convention on oil pollution preparedness, response and cooperation (OPRC), and also the ones that are related to the liability and compensation for the pollution done by oil fuels (Bunkers Convention).
It’s been 13 years since the GI WACAF project has been running and it has been encouraging the development of a network of centre points and experts on the response and preparedness on spills in the region.
IMO and IPIECA organised the conference in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of South Africa, particularly the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA).
The Government and representatives of industry from 22 African countries that are the partner of GI WACAF project were a part of the conference. The countries were Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.