Thirty-five public officers and private-sector representatives recently received training in managing oil spills from international experts.

The sessions were administered by the firm Ambipar Response, which is based in the United States and Brazil, on Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 13-16, according to the Department of Disaster Management.

Training topics included contingency planning, responder safety, “spilt oil behaviour,” oil containment and removal, and shoreline management, the agency stated.

DDM Director Jasen Penn said knowledge in such areas helps the Virgin Islands meet its obligations under the International Maritime Organisation’s International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation.

“In keeping with the Territorial Oil Spill Response Plan, participants included representatives of all the agencies that may need to respond to an oil spill,” Mr. Penn said.

Besides DDM, these agencies include the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, the VI Fire and Rescue Service, the BVI Ports Authority, the Royal VI Police Force, and the VI Shipping Registry. Staff from major fuel providers took part as well, according to DDM.

Participants also included public officers from Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

‘New skills’

Harrison Jolly, senior response consultant and trainer with Ambipar Response, congratulated participants on completing the operational and tactical sessions.

“It was clear to our trainers during the preparation for and delivery of the courses that BVI is demonstrating a commitment to enhancing their understanding of marine oil spill response, developing new skills, and ensuring resilience amongst key stakeholders and agencies at all levels,” Mr. Jolly said.

The February sessions followed “Level Three” oil spill response training for executive officers in January.

The series was organised by DDM as part of its annual training programme with financial support from United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, according to DDM.