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Oil Spill Response Limited Oil Spill Response Limited
News & Media

COVID 19 (Coronavirus Disease 19)

Friday, October 23, 2020









COVID-19 Update - 23rd October 2020

In our last update, we talked about three confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the OSRL Brazil team. We are pleased to confirm our team in Brazil have now completely recovered, the team have been medically cleared to return to work.  Fortunately, the severity of the cases in Brazil was mild and the spread contained.  Nevertheless, the team are maintaining strict COVID vigilance post recovery. 


OSRL has conducted a review of our crisis management processes and procedures with a view to ensuring we remain well placed to manage the COVID 19 pandemic and potential future waves that might impact our global bases in the coming months. The review covered the structure of the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and Business Continuity Team (BCT), the agenda and frequency of meetings, updating of CM processes to reflect lessons learned, simplification and streamlining of documentation as well as identifying COVID 19 focal points to guide staff on using the documentation. The recommendations from the review are now being actioned. 


Following on with our country plan developments, we have updated 9 plans; Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE. All our country plans are available here.


This week we released a guide which provides the top 10 Human Factor considerations when responding during a pandemic such as the mindset, emotions, personal worries, concerns and motivations that responders are likely to experience when responding to an oil spill in these timesBy considering these Human Factors in advance, this enables the incident owner or response organisation to consider the concerns responders may have. This document can be used to help gather appropriate incident specific information to allow more targeted responder briefings to address these specific concerns early in the response. The document can be downloaded here. 


OSRL ran a Global exercise last week, the past nine months of restrictions have been a necessary frustration for us all, but the limitations of lockdown and social distancing have been felt within Response in particular. Great strides have been made to improve our virtual response capability, but physical, hands-on response remains something that our Members continue to rely upon. For our responders, the ability to exercise and practice is vitalwith skill fade a very real risk emerging from prolonged periods of enforced lockdown.  


OSRL’s Global Exercise Programme was introduced at the beginning of 2018 to provide a structured training and exercise program; this in turn provides a level of assurance in responder competency to our Members. The 2020 programme has, of course, been impacted by COVID-19, but by employing our COVID-19 processes and risk management we are now able to safely conduct practical deployment exercises. The UK last week saw over 82% of our responders participate in four shoreline deployments, four SCAT exercises and four offshore containment and recovery deployments using both traditional and enhanced recovery systems. Each exercise was conducted in slow-time to provide an opportunity to re-establish competence, close skills gaps and regain any lost confidence in these critical capabilities. The exercise activity was then punctuated with a real-time drill element to put those skills to the test, which provided an invaluable assurance opportunity both internally and for our Members. We were able to provide further assurance through the application of technology, with a member of Shell’s Oil Spill Expertise Centre (OSEC) physically joining the exercise whilst trialling wearable technology to connect the deployment with the rest of the OSEC Team who were observing remotely.   


The success of the week was in no small part due to the planning team’s attention to detail and rigorous application of COVID processes, but perhaps most importantly as an opportunity to do what we do best; the tangible expressions of practical problem solving and teamwork. For many, the opportunity to exercise again reignited our collective purpose as well as providing that all important opportunity to reconnect and rediscover the camaraderie that is an essential ingredient for any response, especially one with the specific human challenges brought by COVID-19. 


Continuing with other updates, we’re pleased to welcome Mark Cockram to the Subsea Well Intervention Services (SWIS), Mark has been a key SWIS STAF Rep since service inception, contributing to the sustainability and growth of the SWIS service. Marks appointment, as Subsea Manager for the Western Hemisphere and Americas is of key strategic importance for OSRL and the fulfilment of this role sees OSRL taking the next step in increasing the scope of the SWIS services, as well as aligning response capability. 


Last week OSRL welcomed The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as a new Associate Member. The MCA operates across the United Kingdom, preventing the loss of life along the country’s coast and at sea. It also has a stated commitment to ensure the ‘environmental safety of UK coast and waters’, reflecting the impetus for the new agreement with OSRL.  


Claire Hughes, director of HM Coastguard, said: "The Maritime and Coastguard Agency takes its responsibility for the UK's precious coastlines and waters very seriously and will always look to review what resources we have available which led to the signing of this agreement." Read more here. 


Once again, we invite Members to join us for our webinars with upcoming topics being:  

No Such Thing As A Bad Exercise? Shared learnings from delivering exercises around the planet on 29th October with an AM and PM session 

Guidance document for Response during pandemic - 28th October 1300 BST 

Volunteer Management – 5th November with an AM and PM session 


As always, we remain just a phone call away, ready to virtually support you and your operations. Should you have any questions, please email or contact our Duty Managers.