UK experts drive Peru’s ongoing response to February’s oil spill in Pacific Ocean

  • Team of experts from the United Kingdom carried out the workshop “Response to marine pollution: preparedness and best practices from the United Kingdom” with Peruvian authorities.
  • More than 50 representatives from Peru’s environmental, fisheries, and coast guard sectors actively participated in the four-day workshop.

Lima, 26th September. – Between 20 and 23 September, a team of UK-based pollution response experts from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), delivered the workshop “Marine Pollution Response: preparedness and best practise from the UK”, with Peruvian Governmental authorities.

This 4-day workshop brought together over 50 representatives from Peruvian environment, fisheries and coastguard sectors, including officers from the Minister of Environment, the National Park Service and coastal municipalities. With the support of colleagues from British Embassy in Lima, the UK delegation shared lessons learned from historic UK incidents and discussed key legislation and preparedness principles to ensure an effective and timely response to marine pollution incidents.

The workshop also covered a range of topics including response options, use of satellite and drone technology, socio-economic impacts of spills, evaluating impacts to marine birds and marine mammals, post-spill monitoring and hydrocarbon analysis and fingerprinting. It also included presentations from UK Deputy to the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime and Salvage, and sessions from oiled wildlife response organisation Aiuka.

Bethany Graves, from the JNCC, said:

It’s a pleasure to be here, sharing UK experience and knowledge and working closely with Peruvian Governmental agencies to explore opportunities to be better prepared. We have had an excellent week of workshops with good engagement and discussions.

We’re grateful for the British Embassy Lima’s help in the organisation of the workshop and we are glad to see that all who attended found it useful.

The workshop concluded with a table-top exercise in which lessons learned from the previous days were tested and cemented. After this workshop, the UK team will prepare a ‘Recommendations for better Readiness’ report to hand over in the next few months. This will include comments on Peru’s National Contingency Plan and key gaps in preparedness as identified in the workshop (and shared from Peru agencies).

The British Ambassador to Peru, Gavin Cook added:

The oil spill off Lima was a wake-up call. But it’s one the Peruvian government is responding to, in both managing the aftermath of the disaster and thinking longer-term. The UK is proud to be supporting this alongside our broad environmental work in Peru.

British expertise has a huge amount to offer – especially in the use of technology – and we look forward to continuing to share best practice and drive change.

The workshop was delivered under the Ocean Country Partnership Programme, a UK-led programme funded through the UK government’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund, which aims to help eligible countries reduce poverty, through supporting the sustainable management of their marine environment.

Participants working together.

Workshop participants discussing during the table-top exercise.

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