Maritime Environmental Conference Takes Place Aboard HSV 2, Tanzania

Maritime Environmental Conference Takes Place Aboard HSV 2

Representatives from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and Naval Sea Systems Center (NAVSEA) hosted a Maritime Environmental Conference and workshop that concluded July 3 on board High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) as part of the ship’s participation in Africa Partnership Station (APS) East 2012.

Thirteen members of the Tanzanian People’s Defense Force (TPDF), as well as local police and port security officials graduated from the two-day workshop, learning about management of hazardous waste and oil spills as well as incident response plans.

“The goal is to give them some of the lessons we’ve already gone through in the U.S. on how to deal with the environment, pollution, solid waste and what the Navy is doing and what they may have an opportunity to do here,” said Tom Luchay, chemical engineer with NSWC.

Participants explored specific case studies stemming from oil spills and other threats to the environment that took place in the United States. The discussion expanded to how these events can harm the marine ecosystem and filter to harm humans and the food chain.

Bringing these nations together for specifically tailored training events, both ashore and at sea, allow African maritime nations to improve their capabilities while strengthening relationships with partner nations. APS also allows African maritime nations to bolster regional maritime safety and security throughout the maritime environment in three specific areas: counter-piracy, illicit trafficking, and energy and resource security.

Further discussion during the workshop centered on environmental policy, laws and regulations and how to stop pollution hazards before they happen. The instructors have participated in several APS sessions and say that each African country they’ve visited has unique concerns when it comes to the environment.

“Our first visit was to Sierra Leone back in February, and in that country their issue is infrastructure, roads, power and water distribution. Here, in Tanzania, they seem to have pretty well established laws and regulations but deal with issues coming from heavy industry,” said Luchay.

Before receiving certificates and departing Swift, participants discussed emergency incident management and planning measures. The greatest lesson learned from that talk was how agencies that practice their plans and communicate together can keep an environmental hazard from getting out of control.

During this exercise participants discussed the importance of spill preparedness, identified potential spill impacts, learned spill planning and gained knowledge on response requirements.

“We had a basic level of knowledge on environmental matters, but the workshop provided something we didn’t already know. It’s a good exchange of ideas,” said TPDF Lt. Frank Kavalambi. “There are some events you can’t plan for but this discussion helps. This is my second year being involved with APS and I’ve got a lot of knowledge from it. It is fruitful, and we want it to be more fruitful in the future.”

African, European, and North and South American partners, and non-governmental organizations share a common goal of regional prosperity, stability, and peace. APS helps to create partnerships among a number of organizations who have not traditionally worked with each other in the past to achieve common goals through collaboration.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

Naval Today Staff, July 4, 2012; Image: U.S. Navy