Procedures being developed to address large scale accidents at sea

On Thursday 10th May the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) hosted a stakeholder consultation to develop standardized procedures and guidelines for managing incidents involving large marine passenger vessels.

 

Mr. Paul Saunders, a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at DHP Caribbean Ltd in Trinidad and Tobago, facilitated the consultation which served to examine the use of the incident command system, local support available to impacted vessels, border control, managing environmental impacts, shelter provisioning, search and rescue resources and management of external assistance.  Later in the week, Mr. Saunders will also meet with other stakeholders to discuss proposed changes to the existing External Affairs Plan.

In his opening statement Mr. Saunders said, “We are going to identify key areas that would need to be addressed in the event of major accidents at sea and analyse them with the intention of creating national policies, strategies and guidelines to be used in the management of large passenger marine vessels incidents”Mr. Paul Sanders is seen here stimulating discourse among the stakeholders. (Photo courtesy of DDM)

He further said, “The consultation is the first step in obtaining stakeholders feedback which will ultimately be used to shape the guidelines.”

Mr. Saunders has over twenty (20) years of knowledge and experience in the field of Disaster Risk Management; and also served as Director General and Chief Executive Officer for the disaster offices in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.

This project is part of an initiative to ensure that adequate plans and procedures are in place to address all possible hazards that can impact the Territory and its critical resources. DDM’s Planning and Preparedness Manager, Ms. Sheniah Armstrong-Davies said, “As the Government of the Virgin Islands moves towards embracing a comprehensive approach to managing disastrous events, we have identified the need to develop standardised procedures and guidelines to guide any response to incidents involving large scale passenger marine vessels. We may not be able to prevent an incident from occurring but with combined efforts and a high level of preparedness will aid in averting a catastrophe.”

The consultation was held at Conservation and Fisheries Department conference room and was attended by key stakeholders from government and the private sector.

The project expected to be completed by mid June, 2012 and is fully funded by the Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonization Implementation (CDM HIP) Programme being implemented by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA) and funded by various donor partners including UKAID from the Department of International Development.  

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