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Dispersants workshop held in Malaysia

01 Mar 2011

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IPIECA held a joint workshop entitled Dispersants and their role in oil spill response on 17-18 February in Port Dickson, Malaysia.

There is universal agreement that the objective of oil spill response should be to minimize the potential damage, both ecological and socio-economic, that could be caused by an oil spill and this involves preventing sensitive resources coming into contact with the spilled oil. Oil spill dispersants offer the potential to quickly remove the oil from the water surface and reduce the potential of shoreline stranding. Dispersants have real capabilities and limitations, but more than any other oil spill response technique, there are misconceptions about their use and this can cause their use to be controversial.

Over 80 participants from the East Asia region attended the workshop which was designed to:

  • Enable participants to gain a better understanding of oil spill dispersants, and provide a balanced view of when it is appropriate to use them;
  • Facilitate the sharing of latest information on the use of dispersants in oil spill response;
  • Give an overview of how dispersants are considered in relation to contingency planning, and
  • Provide opportunities for oil spill planners and responders, from government and industry in the region, to meet and discuss issues of mutual concern.

The workshop was opened by Patricia Charlebois (Head of Pollution Response Section, IMO) and David Fritz (Chairman of the IPIECA Oil Spill Working Group). Contributions were made by Tan Swee Huang (OSR), Alex Hunt (ITOPF), and dispersant expert Alun Lewis which pulled the technical sessions together very effectively. Regional and local case studies were given by Nick Quinn from the Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre (AMOSC) and Nordin Abdul Hamid from the Petroleum Industry of Malaysia Mutual Aid Group (PIMMAG).

At the conclusion of the workshop, Petronas and PIMMAG organized an unmanned aerial vehicle demonstration and a visit to the PIMMAG base, and our thanks go to Capt. Chin Kon Wing and Maarof Sanif who were in charge of putting together the demonstration and base visit.

Presentations from the workshop are now available on the event page.

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