The Regional Workshop on Contingency Planning for Response to Spills of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) and Oil in the Marine Environment started on Sunday 6 September 2015 at Officer’s Club of the General Directorate of Civil Defense.

The workshop is being organised by the Permanent Committee for Emergency (PCE), State of Qatar in cooperation with Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Representatives of the PCE and similar authorities in the Arab Gulf region are participating in the three-day workshop. The opening of the workshop was attended by Brigadier Hamad Othman Duhaimi, secretary of the PEC, and a number of members of the committee.

The workshop commenced with a speech by Director General of Public Security and Chairman of PCE His Excellency Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi, which was delivered by Brigadier Abdullah Al Khalifa, Director of Public Relations Department,  Ministry of Interior and PEC member.  He thanked the MEMAC for its efforts in organising training programmes that will improve the working level among all stakeholders of marine emergencies.

He said:

The workshop comes at a time when we are witnessing an increase in risks related with maritime navigation in our region, which requires knowledge of all the required actions to address those risks.’

He added that the maritime safety, protection of sea life, pollution prevention and control, achievement of maritime security and implementation of the rescue work are noble and lofty goals we all strive to achieve them and to consolidate them through cooperation and mutual coordination. Hence, PCE is  so keen on the organisation of distinctive workshops and successful training courses co-presented by a group of international experts and specialists who have a long experience in this area.

Captain Abdel Moneim Al Janahi, Director of MEMAC  explained that the workshop comes in accordance with the decisions of the Ministerial Council of Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME). International experts and specialists in the areas of environmental conservation and protection of marine pollution are participating in this workshop which is held in the framework of international and regional cooperation between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the MEMAC.
He noted that the workshop will contribute to updating the information and exchange of experiences and to understand the latest technologies used in dealing with maritime accidents of various kinds as well as international and regional conventions and protocols for marine incidents.

The workshop on the first day discussed a range of important topics including Introduction to response to  cases of spills and the risk of HNS spills and the differences between HNS spills and oil spills, toxic effects of hazardous and harmful substances and its environmental impacts, means of transport for hazardous materials, types of maritime accidents, international maritime law and other related topics.