Emergency Preparedness “International Request for Assistance” Exercise Concludes in the Arctic
March 1, 2021 — From February 9-23, a virtual international spill response exercise was held to practice how Arctic Council nations would request and receive emergency international support. Support could include aircraft, vessels, response equipment, and personnel.
The ‘Arctic Guardian’ exercise involved a hypothetical collision between a cruise ship and an oil tanker in Northern Iceland.
In the scenario, the spill exceeded Iceland’s domestic capacity to respond, and Iceland activated the “Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic”, known as the MOSPA agreement, created to strengthen cooperation, coordination and mutual assistance among Arctic nations on oil pollution preparedness and response, and to protect the marine environment from pollution by oil.
The Office of Response and Restoration helped to formulate the U.S. response through the U.S. State Department and the National Response Team (NRT). OR&R represents NOAA and the Department of Commerce as one of the 15 Federal agencies on the NRT. Brandi Todd, NOAA’s SSC in New Orleans, sits on the NRT’s International Assistance (IA) Subcommittee. The NRT, through the Department of State, submitted the official U.S. Government response back to Iceland on February 22, 2021.