Fifty-five sea administrators and experts on environmental resource management, and on marine commerce and access issues convened at an IUCN-supported training workshop in Ha Long Bay 9 -13 March to develop a geographic response plan to oil spill risks for the sea and coastal areas bordering Quang Ninh and Hai Phong.
A Geographic Response Plan (GRP) is a location-specific oil and chemical spill contingency plan that identifies resources at risk and prioritizes response strategies to protect environmental and economic resources. Utilizing detailed maps, informative data tables and specific guidelines, the GRP is an essential tool for local spill responders.
“The GRP developed for Vung Tau has been a success, as assessed by all stakeholders,” said Mr. Nguyen Boa, Vice Head of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE), where the first national workshop on GRP was organized in 2005. “However, the plan needs to be regularly revisited, updated and exercised so that when a spill happens, the response actions will be effective and efficient.”
Participants took part in a 5-day intensive training comprising both classroom and field work. They learned GRP methodology, shared information, and worked together on maps and data entry, problem-solving exercises and response plans under the guidance of Mr. Bradford Benggio of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Benggio first developed the process in the early 1990s and has exported the training workshop to several international venues since then.
“Quang Ninh has a 250 km long coastline, which complicates our ability to respond to oil spills, especially when we do not have a GIS map specifying areas sensitive to oil spills in Ha Long Bay,” said Mr Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Director of Environment Protection Division, Quang Ninh DONRE. “These response strategies will therefore be extremely helpful in getting us prepared for such an emergency.”
The workshop is part of the project, “Building Capacity on Integrated Coastal Management for Quang Ninh and Hai Phong” – a partnership between IUCN Viet Nam, NOAA and the Viet Nam Administration on Sea and Island (VASI), with technical support from GENWEST System INC.
It concluded with a documentation of spill risks for Quang Ninh Province and Hai Phong, in the form of a complete GIS integrated digital and hard copy response plan that indicates oil spill protection priorities and response strategies for selected sites such as Ha Long Bay, Cat ba National Park, Bai Tu Long National Park, Cua Luc – Cai Lan Port, Hai Phong Port and Do Son coastal areas.
For more information and a copy of the GRP, please contact Ms. Bui Thi Thu Hien at email@example.com.