We were recently invited to attend the MASEPOLREX23 Field Training Exercise in Mauritius by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and were honoured to be made a part of their evaluation team.
The main objectives of the training exercise were to test local plans, international co-operation arrangements and assess the technical and human capacities for the teams involved.
Mark Harvey, one of our Senior Spill Response Specialists and Duty Manager, together with other evaluators from South Africa Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA) and ITOPF, observed offshore, shoreline, and IMT/command post activities throughout the week.
As the only Oil Spill Response organisation in attendance, Mark worked alongside Dr Angela Pinzon from ITOPF and Captain Ravi Naiker from SAMSA who led the evaluation team in reviewing all activities conducted as part of the 3-day exercise. Approximately 400 participants were involved from various organisations and East African/Indian Ocean states, with around 300 taking part in the offshore and shoreline activities and the remaining 100 forming the Incident Management Team.
The week consisted of:
Monday – An introduction by the CEO of IOC, Raj Mohabeer, to the exercise and what would be taking place during the week as well as a chance to network with other participants.
Tuesday – The exercise began with the response team receiving an incident notification to let them know what had happened and details of what the exercise would include with some of the National Evaluation team involved in the Incident Management Team (IMT) based at the National Disaster Reduction Management Centre (NDRMC) .
Wednesday – Mark and Ravi headed out onto the water as part of an international team to observe the offshore deployment .
Thursday – He evaluated the team on part of the exercise on Black River/Pointe Koenig as they conducted shoreline ops.
Friday – The end of the exercise and presentation of the evaluation teams observations to the attendees that were present at the time.
The event was funded by the European Union and fully supported by a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and hosted in Mauritius with overall management by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) but in the framework of the Nairobi Convention and its Emergency Protocol.
This was the first exercise of its kind, and following the success of this one, the IOC is to make this a regular feature in their calendar with a change of location each year. We look forward to joining them again next year.