Oceans are complex and they are used in many ways. The seas are fished, sometimes overfished; the oceans are used as a convenient transport system, which has never been accident free; the oceans may be used as a barrier in times of conflict; sand, gravel and other minerals are extracted from the seabed.
The functions of the oceans are inseparable from the environment and natural responses of the oceans themselves. If any one of the uses is undertaken in a regime that neglects the others, it is likely to be unworkable politically, economically or environmentally. It is for these reasons that it is of paramount importance to have and maintain an Emergency Response Plan at international, national and local levels.
The major responsibility of the Emergency Response Team may be divided into several sections:
Firstly, where necessary, research, develop and implement appropriate legislation to encompass the coastal lands, coastal zone and territorial seas. Identify possible sources of pollution and any effect they may have on the environment.
Secondly, work with the existing government, private industry and commercial establishments to attain emission and effluent standards to ensure that these standards comply with legislation.
Also, where necessary, develop and implement marine legislation and procedures to include grounding, seabed damage, assistance for overloaded vessels and/or salvage vessels. For example, in the case of vessel to vessel, vessel to land collision and vessel fire damage stability. In all aspects care of passengers, crew and cargo must be considered.
Within the area of activity there should be strict monitoring of ship movements. Co-operation with government and private institutions to ensure that maritime education is included in academic programmes and mass media is also recommended. It is important that the team liaise with the government and international institutions in all matters concerning maritime coordination and training.
CTS Marine Consultants Ltd has the experience and ability to give advice on ports, coastal regimes and governments in setting up Emergency Response Teams. They include advice or implementation of managing projects, environmental impact statements; provide advice on mitigation, the location of cleaning up equipment, and setting up Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to track pollutants, water currents and thereafter to assist in the overall management plan in the event of an accident.