FMI will participate in the international Balex Delta oil spill response exercise, to be conducted in the Gulf of Finland off Helsinki on 28 and 29 August 2012. In line with the Helsinki Convention, similar exercises are arranged annually; the exercise of 2012 will be led by the Finnish Environment Institute.
Photo: The Finnish Border Guard
For the exercise, the Finnish Meteorological Institute provides the necessary information on the projected drifting of oil, wind and weather forecasts and on marine conditions such as surface waves, water temperature and currents. The information on weather and marine conditions is presented both in the new BORIS 2 situational awareness system and in the Ilmanet service made available for the organisations participating in the exercise.
A meteorological expert from the Institute supports the exercise leadership by contributing to the work of the Supreme On Scene Commander on board the command vessel. The meteorologist’s task is to interpret the weather and marine data that the systems produce for the exercise leaders and to transmit any requests for additional services to the Institute. The expert is supported by the Institute’s Safety Weather Service, Aviation Weather Service and Oceanographic Services.
In oil combating, the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s responsibilities include drift calculations, aviation weather service and, in winter, ice service. The Institute’s operations and services are grounded in high-quality observations and research findings on the atmosphere and seas.
The goal of the Balex Delta exercise is to test the cooperation of oil response organisation and equipment both nationally and internationally in the Gulf of Finland. The entire exercise will take place on the open sea, in an area covered by the rescue departments of Helsinki and Eastern Uusimaa. Dozens of Finnish organisations, more than 20 oil response vessels and 50 other vessels or boats, and a total of over 500 people from Finland, other Baltic Sea countries and from the European Union will participate in the exercise, which is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute.
Equipment and personnel from the rescue departments of Helsinki, Western and Eastern Uusimaa, and Kymenlaakso participate in the exercise on both days. An important role is played by the vessels, aircraft, boats and considerable personnel resources deployed by the Finnish Border Guard and the Navy.
The oil spill response exercise of 2012 emphasises the management of the entire operation: taking the response measures from start to finish in cooperation among various organisations in the event of a large-scale oil spill.
All aspects of the exercise will be practised in the national exercise on 28 August, and the international exercise will carry on directly from where the national one ends. In addition, each body participating in the exercise has defined its own priorities for what needs to be practised.