Combating Oil Spills
Oil spills are emergencies which could turn into serious disasters if there is no good planning and preparedness to combat them ahead of their occurrence. The damage they may inflict could increase hugely in case of weak capacities and lack of cooperation and coordination between the parties concerned with the operations to control and manage them across the region or within a country.
Oil spills are among the most serious challenges facing countries that export and import oil and its derivatives. The situation becomes more challenging when the global demand on oil and its derivatives soars, and the movement of marine vessels and oil tankers intensifies.
These serious challenges and dangers made the Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE) adopt a number of initiatives to confront potential dangers and threats:
- Approving the National Contingency Plan to Combat Oil Spills aimed at ensuring the kingdom’s constant readiness to combat oil slicks that occur from time to time in its territorial waters. The SCE is in charge of overseeing the contingency plan, and is supported by a committee comprising representatives from all relevant governmental and private institutions.
- Developing an executive program to combat oil spills seeking to control the kingdom’s territorial waters continuously and ensure close coordination with neighboring countries through the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC) to monitor and combat any oil spills that may cause threat to Bahrain’s coasts and vital facilities in its territorial waters. Once an incident is reported and inspected, the necessary procedures are taken in coordination with the competent sides in the kingdom, according to the mechanism approved in the national contingency plan.
- The establishment of a National Oil Spill Response Command Centre in Sitra. It comprises the representatives of all relevant sides under one roof. The centre is equipped with all means of communication required for operations to combat oil slicks, including telephone lines, fax machines, internet network, and display screens that broadcast live images from the spill site to enable them to be well-informed about the ongoing developments and help them take the most appropriate decisions.