Thursday, March 4, 2010

Creating a Culture of Preparedness—the International Oil Spill Conference

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by LT Kristen Preble, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Incident Management and Preparedness.

The International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) is jointly sponsored by industry, government, and non-government organizations and is considered the Americas’ premier oil spill preparedness, prevention, and response conference. Since its inception in 1969, a total of 20 International Oil Spill Conferences have been held.

The IOSC is sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard and some of its key maritime partners, including:
• the International Maritime Organization,
• the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
• the American Petroleum Institute,
• the Minerals Management Service,
• the United States Environmental Protection Agency,
• the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association.

The U.S. Coast Guard provides critical leadership to the IOSC as co-chair of the general committee and chair of the program committee.

IOSC 2008
The theme of IOSC 2008 was “creating a culture of preparedness.” This theme served as a reminder to the response community that preparedness is a critical component of any oil spill response. More than 2,000 people from over 80 countries were in attendance for the technical sessions and viewed more than 250 exhibits.

The conference began with a series of short courses that ranged in topic from the basics of oil spill response to oil spill response techniques in the Arctic and the use of dispersants. These courses were followed by an on-water demonstration of oil spill response equipment.

The conference was officially convened by keynote speakers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, co-hosts of The History Channel’s "Deep Sea Detectives" television show. They provided insight into the dangers involved in deep-sea diving and how crucial experience and training is to any operation, regardless of the profession.

In his closing speech, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant ADM Thad Allen highlighted the 40th anniversary of the National Oil and Hazardous Substance Contingency Plan and the importance of cooperation among all levels of government, the private sector, and non-government organizations.

Future of IOSC
The next IOSC will be held in 2011 and will be "going green," with IOSC 2011’s general committee specifically looking for venues that will reduce the conference’s environmental impact and analyzing its processes and products to eliminate waste.

For more information:
Full article and “Environmental Protection” edition of USCG Proceedings is available at

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