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Cablegate: Turkey Plans Black Sea Oil Spill Response Exercise

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300955Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2305
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001310

SIPDIS

USDOC FOR NOAA
STATE ALSO FOR OES/OMC RIDDLE FOR COAST GUARD
PARIS FOR USOECD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EPET EWWT MARR TU RS GG RO
SUBJECT: TURKEY PLANS BLACK SEA OIL SPILL RESPONSE EXERCISE

REF: 06 ANKARA 4703

ANKARA 00001310 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Private industry, the Turkish Government, and
other Black Sea littoral states are planning a comprehensive oil
spill response exercise September 19-20 at Eregli on the Turkish
Black Sea coast, preceded by a series of planning workshops.
Industry observers give the Government of Turkey credit for
improving its oil spill response preparedness, but recognize the
need for greater coordination between industry and various
government agencies, the objective of this September exercise. In
the event of a serious oil spill, Turkey would have to draw on
international resources. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) BACKGROUND: Turkey's Ministry of Environment has ultimate
responsibility for handling oil pollution or spills. Local
responsibility is designated to managers at individual ports, or in
the case of spills at sea, to the Turkish Navy and the
Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs. Oil on shore would normally
be dealt with by the municipalities or installation concerned. A
National Contingency Plan has been developed by the Ministry of
Environment, the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs, the Turkish
Coast Guard, and the Provincial Governors. A National Contingency
Plan Executive Committee has been established to coordinate
preparedness and response. Plans for some cities, such as Istanbul,
Canakkale, Samsun, Trabzon, Antalya, and Mersin have been
forumulated.

3. (U) There is some government-owned oil spill response equipment
at various locations in Turkey, mainly operated by Coastal Safety
and Ship Salvage Administration, a government-run salvage company
located in Istanbul. A limited amount of oil spill clean up
equipment is owned by oil companies operating in Turkey, such as the
BP led BTC port facility at Ceyhan. A few small, private salvage
companies operating from Istanbul have dispersant spraying
capability. SESMEKE, a joint venture of SEACOR Environmental
Services Inc., a global leader in emergency response services, and
MEKE Marine Environment Services, a Turkish oil spill response
contractor, is the most significant private company.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Industry focusing on Black Sea Oil Spill Preparedness
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (U) London-based private industry Oil Spill Response
Preparedness Initiative (OSPRI) (affiliated with the International
Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) has been
working closely with the Government of Turkey (GOT) on oil spill
response preparedness, particularly with the Bucharest Convention
affiliated and Istanbul based Black Sea Commission. This is in part
because the Mediterranean Sea based Barcelona Convention -- and its
affiliated organization, Malta-based REMPEC -- is viewed as more
mature and experienced. The latter organization was particularly
active in August 2006, when there was a threat that the Lebanon oil
spill might affect Turkey, which ultimately never happened (Reftel).


-------------------
BP/Chevron Comments
-------------------

5. (SBU) Chevron's Istanbul-based maritime shipping expert Kjell
Landin said the GOT had made great progress on oil spill response,
including formulation of a national plan, but there was still a need
for greater implementation, preparation, coordination, and high

ANKARA 00001310 002.2 OF 002


level support. He commented that industry had recommended
designating three response centers in Turkey, but provincial
governors had successfully argued for seven, which could threaten
assuring standard equipment and procedures. BP officials also gave
the GOT reasonable marks for oil spill response capacity, but noted
the potential challenge in coordinating local authority versus
Environment and Maritime Ministries' responsibilities. They gave
high marks to the GOT's management of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles
Vessel Traffic System (VTS), noting that the GOT was going to merge
the heretofore separate management of VTS and pilotage. Noting the
importance of Black Sea cooperation on port and shipping standards,
the BP officials supported countries raising these issues in all
possible fora: International Maritime Organization, EU, Black Sea
Commission, and BSEC. They suggested oil spill response as a topic
in the USG sponsored BSEC environment workshop in September.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Workshops Culminate in September Oil Spill Exercise
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. (U) OSPRI, the Black Sea Commission, a private shipper (Gungen
Maritime) and the GOT (Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs and the
Ministry of Environment) are organizing an international oil spill
exercise September 19-20 at Eregli, site of a significant steel
works on the Turkish Black Sea Coast, north of Ankara. The exercise
is intended to involve search and rescue and oil pollution
components. The sponsors have organized a series of planning
workshops, such as a dispersant workshop in December,
sensitivity-mapping workshop in March (in conjunction with the GOT's
science institute - TUBITAK), an aerial surveillance workshop in
April, a table-top exercise in April (Black Sea Contingency Plan), a
shoreline deployment training in May (use of booms and barriers), a
claims seminar in June, and a media handling seminar in July, (some
of these events take place in Ankara or Istanbul). Representatives
of Turkey, Russia, Georgia, and Romania attended the
sensitivity-mapping seminar.

7. (U) Key exercise contacts are Kjell Landin, Chevron (90 212 -
542 8688: ktla@chevron.com), and Peter Taylor, London based OSPRI
(+44(0) 1234 576459; PTaylor@ipieca.org).

8. (SBU) COMMENT: Like the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
organization (BSEC), the Black Sea Commission is not viewed as a
highly effective organization. However, with industry help, it has
increased its capacity and role in coordinating oil spill response
between Black Sea littoral states. Although the Black Sea
Commission has the lead on environmental issues, industry experts
see a role for BSEC in also being involved in oil spill response and
shipping and port standards. Industry in Turkey recognizes progress
in Turkey's oil spill response readiness, but sees the need to
improve and "play" coordination. There could be a role as observer
for the U.S. Coast Guard at the September exercise at Eregli.

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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