NOSCA invited me to present at their annual seminar in Bodø, Norway, which took place this year on the 20th–24th of March. NOSCA is an innovation cluster and a platform for knowledge and competency sharing for marine pollution. Over the past few years, plastic has been a significant concern for several NOSCA members. Following the case study from the clean-up operation in Sri Lanka that I delivered in 2022, NOSCA invited me to speak at this year's seminar under the topic "Technology transfer: From traditional oil spill prevention to combat marine pollution".
With our extensive experience and expertise in shoreline response, during the X-Press Peal incident we discovered that response techniques are transferable across many areas, such as using SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique) and applications to collect data to create a common operating picture (COP). We are also gaining valuable input from the industry on current gaps and how to turn our experience into guidelines for future incidents.
The seminar featured several speakers from government, scientific, and research branches, with presentations and discussions focused on how to apply NET environmental analysis to micro/macro plastics already present in the environment and from new sources such as pellets and recovered plastics waste management. Some presenters discussed how to detect plastic and create modelling data to better predict areas of accumulation for more targeted clean-up efforts.
The conference featured presentations from BlueImpact, Cedre, DNV, EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency), ITOPF (International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation), MAERSK, The Ocean Cleanup and many others.
One of the key takeaways from the seminar is that marine pollution in the form of microplastics is a significant concern for several organisations. Following the event, we will build on our preparedness by collaborating with research institutions and organisations we connected with at the seminar. Some key topics to follow up on include microplastic input for modelling, microplastic data for NEBA (Net Environmental Benefit Analysis), SCAT for micro/macro plastics, and shoreline response methods.
We also had the opportunity to observe NOFO - The Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies, running a large-scale exercise for OKEA, with roughly 800 personnel participating in one of the largest exercises ever held in the Norwegian sector. It's always great to see fishing vessels and crews joining spill response organisations for a robust response around the coastal waters.