By Jake Frith
Danish oil recovery solution manufacturer DESMI has obtained Nautical Institute accreditation for its IMO Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response (OPRC) training courses, allowing it to claim to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for its customers around the world.
In many spheres of education, it’s enough for course instructors to have a theoretical understanding of the field. In oil spill response, however, DESMI isn’t taking chances, putting experienced operatives into its classrooms to ensure trainees make all the right moves.
“Nothing’s quite as informative or as memorable as having someone share real life experiences about what responding to an oil spill is really like – working to contain the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, for example,” said DESMI’s Wayne O’Brien, Vice President of Sales at the company’s Asian-Pacific organisation. “And with something that is as important, as challenging and dynamic as a large oil spill, lessons learned in the classroom need to remain as sharp in participants’ minds as possible.”
An industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, he is keen to see oil spill response skills boosted, reducing risk to the environment and the impacts on communities affected as a result.
O’Brien points to DESMI‘s newly accredited IMO OPRC training courses, led by instructors with lengthy, hands-on experience, as the best way to tick all the boxes. The accreditation, received in March this year, allows customers of DESMI’s oil spill response solutions to obtain fully compliant training directly from the manufacturer. And O’Brien sees many advantages in being a one-stop source of systems and know-how for the company’s customer base.
“There are, of course, differences between equipment types, meaning it’s almost always best to train with the type of equipment your people will use,” he explains. “Then there’s the knowhow aspect. Situations can occur out there that simply aren’t covered in instruction manuals – and you may have to come up with creative solutions to a problem no one has ever encountered before. That’s when experience counts, and when the course instructor’s track record and expertise can make a real difference.”
DESMI’s accredited training programme covers many different needs. In accordance with the accreditation, courses are conducted for operational staff, supervisors and senior managers, respectively.
Operational staff are instructed in understanding the weathering process of oil in the marine environment, how to select appropriate equipment, implement efficient and effective operations using different response strategies, and participate in oil spill response teams at the site.
Course participants at supervisory levels learn to safely and efficiently respond to oil spills, undertake initial risk assessments and initiate a response to a spill. The training also covers how to identify priorities for protection, determine the correct response strategy, identify the limitations of response options and equipment, and understand the needs of the media.
At the upper end of the scale, participants receive instruction on the complexities of oil spill management, learning to consider the political and media pressures, legal and financial implications, as well as issues of public and response personnel safety, and post-operational requirements.
DESMI’s Odense office will initially remain the company’s primary centre for the delivery of training, but the intention is for the majority of training in future to be delivered to customers close to their areas of operation.