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NAMIRS Final Conference held in Trieste

Representatives from Italy, Croatia and Slovenia gathered on 20 February at the CEI Headquarters for the final conference of the project North Adriatic Maritime Incident Response System (NAMIRS).

The partnership of NAMIRS - led by the CEI - Executive Secretariat and co-financed by the European Union- DG ECHO - comprised a diverse range of stakeholders, including governmental bodies such as coast guards and ministries, academic institutions specialized in maritime studies and oceanography, as well as research centers focusing on marine pollution preparedness and response, who jointly worked towards establishing a common mechanism for the safeguard of the North Adriatic basin in case of oil spills.

During the past two years, project partners coordinated their activities and developed actions which led to impressive achievements, i.e. advanced technical trainings for at sea response and on shore cleaning; joint risk assessment for the North Adriatic basin; the first joint full-scale operation in the North Adriatic that took place in the Gulf of Trieste on 20 November 2023.

The exercise – a simulation of a collision that caused the spill over of a consistent quantity of crude oil in one of the areas of major risk in the North Adriatic, at the intersection point of the exit-entry routes from the ports of Koper, Trieste and Monfalcone – aimed at testing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed within the project to quickly respond to an accident at sea. The SOPs, along with the Guidelines for the Revision and Update of the Sub-regional Contingency Plan are the two most important outcomes of this project.

Secretary General, Roberto Antonione expressed his satisfaction with the achievements of the project, which are aligned with the CEI Thematic Agenda also for the period 2024-2026. This agenda focuses, among other priorities, on reducing the negative impacts of climate change, minimising the effects of pollution and limiting environmental exploitation. He thanked partners and institutions for their precious support to the project, especially aknowledging Fabio Scoccimarro, Councillor for Environment of the Friuli Venezia Giulia. Antonione  also underlined  the relevance of institutional support during project implementation and emphasised its crucial role for the future of the initiative. He called for further action from relevant administrations, to maintain active collaboration through a cooperation mechanism for environmental management of the whole Adriatic basin,  similar to the Ramoge model.

Numerous significant conclusions emerged from the event, reiterated by all partners. These include special attention needed for the North Adriatic sea, a semi-closed and vulnerable basin; the added value of having developed for the first time a common risk assessment, identifying sensitive areas and priorities during response activities; the innovative result of having Standard Operating Procedures which could be immediately applied and implemented in case of accidents; the crucial role of joint training and preparedness activities to ensure a coordinated response in case of oil spills; the significance of predicting scenarios and outcomes of a potential incident, in order to conduct efficient operations; the need to ramp up  investment in joint exercises, regular communication, and data exchange.

Gathering under one roof were various institutions, including municipalities, high authorities as the Italian court of Auditors and the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. They all praised the high level of collaboration and expertise achieved and embraced the NAMIRS recommendations to support, continue and intensify coordination promoting the establishment of a permanent collaborative framework to ensure prevention, preparedness and effective response in safeguarding the Adriatic and its resources, an initiative which could be extended to other hazards and to the entire Adriatic Sea.

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