Finnish Border Guard Promote Cooperation and Sharing at European Maritime Day

Posted in LIFELINE August 2017 - English

As part of the 10th European Maritime Day Conference held in Poole, UK on 18th and 19th May 2017 a delegation from the Finnish Border Guard and Finnish Lifeboat Institution presented a workshop on preparedness at sea and specifically developing and sharing practices for vessels during emergencies at sea. IMRF Major Incident Response Group (MIRG) Project Leader, Dave Sheppard, explains more:

The European Maritime Day Conference celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017 and was supported by the European Commission, the UK Government and the Borough of Poole.

It brings together Europe’s maritime community to exchange ideas and forge partnerships needed to build the ‘blue economy’ with the theme for 2017 being ‘the future of our seas’ with an emphasis on: 

•  Innovation and growth
People and skills
Sustainability and governance
Safety and security

The Finnish Border Guard workshop was developed to support the safety and security theme and looked specifically at the following objectives: 

•  Assessing and communicating the safety status of a vessel (Vessel Triage);
Joint coordination between maritime response teams and other authorities (Baltic Sea MIRG);
Cooperation in maritime rescue operations involving hazardous and noxious substances (ChemSAR);
Educational cooperation in the field of coast guard functions (ECGF Training Network).

The workshop consisted of individual presentations on each the themes, which were led by a specialist advisor from each area. They were then concluded with a panel discussion on current themes and development of the best practices which was moderated by Dave Sheppard the IMRF MIRG Project Leader.

The first presentation was delivered by Jori Nordström who is the Project Manager of the Vessel Triage project and the Head of Operations at the Finnish Lifeboat Institution. The vessel triage project is a method for assessing and communicating the safety status of vessels in maritime distress and accidents. The method is intended for use by both vessels and maritime search and rescue agencies.

It is used to form a common understanding of the nature of the incident or accident and thereby determine the safety status of the vessel. The focus of the method is on the level of safety aboard a distress vessel for persons aboard and more details are available at www.raja.fi/vesseltriage.

The second presentation was delivered by Juho Kurttio, who is the former deputy project manager of the Baltic Sea MIRG project, who works as an advisor at the Finnish Border Guard Headquarters. The Baltic Sea Maritime Incident Response Group (Baltic Sea MIRG) Project was established by the Finnish Border Guard as the responsible maritime search and rescue authority in cooperation with Finland’s Emergency Rescue Services. The project has sought to create joint MIRG coordination models and operational guidelines for the Baltic Sea region and support the harmonisation of MIRG services in Europe. More details are available at www.raja.fi/mirg.

Thirdly was a presentation from Teemu Niemelä, who is the Work Package Leader of the ChemSAR project and an adviser in the Maritime Safety and SAR Unit at the Finnish Border Guard Headquarters. The project will create the operational plans and standard operational procedures needed in SAR operations of hazardous and noxious substance (HNS) incidents. By creating plans for the rescue operations related to maritime HNS incidents the project will close a gap around a current lack of operational procedures and by developing e-learning material for the different international agencies in the rescue operations the project will enhance and harmonise the level of knowledge to ensure safe rescue operations. Further details are available at https://blogit.utu.fi/ChemSAR.

Finally Johanna Terva, Project Implementation Team member at the Finnish Border Guard Headquarters gave a presentation on the European Coast Guard Functions (ECGF) Training Network and European Coastguard Functions Academy Network II project. The Network is a voluntary association of educational institutions providing education in the field of Coastguard functions in the member states of the forum.

Membership is open to all officially recognised educational institutions involved in teaching, training and researching Coastguard functions in the member states and intends to:

•  Publish, through the ECGF Training Portal, information on training courses that are open to participants from other members of the Network;
Contribute to developing a Coastguard Functions sectoral qualifications Framework (CGFSQF);
Be open to participating in exchange programmes;
Contribute to developing international education programmes according to their interests and expertise.

Further information is available at www.ecgff-trainingportal.eu.

The panel discussion following the presentations invited a number of questions from the conference floor, which focused on how the results from the various projects could be used in the future to enhance cooperation, knowledge and understanding.

The panel were unanimous in their views that all of the outputs from the work are and will be available for others to access and contribute to.

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