He was talking to the media at the opening brief of the exercise titled BARRACUDA-VII at the Headquarters of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) on Monday. Nearly 40 participants, observers and technical advisers of stakeholders were present.

The PMSA exercise BARRACUDA-VII started on Monday in collaboration with the Pakistan Navy and it would continue till November 16. Earlier in a briefing, PMSA DG Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar highlighted that the agency, being the sole law enforcement agency at the sea, was alive and ever ready to respond to and curb any maritime crime at the area.“Diesel and contraband smuggling has reduced drastically at sea,” he said.

“The PMSA has deployed its assets side by side the Pakistan Navy all along the coast, especially for security of the Gwadar Port,” he said.

The rear admiral said that marine pollution like major oil spills were catastrophic for marine environment, including ports, harbours and EEZ thus requiring collective response from all stakeholders.

After the catastrophic incident of MV Tasman Spirit in Karachi in 2003, the need was strongly felt to formulate a comprehensive Anti-Pollution Plan. Subsequently, the National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan (NMDCP) was prepared and promulgated by the government of Pakistan in 2007 with the Pakistan Navy and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency in the lead role.

The National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan (NMDCP) lays down a comprehensive organisation and contingency plan to effectively deal with marine disasters at the national level. The execution of the NMDCP was ordered by the chairman of the Pakistan Marine Disaster Management Board (PMDMB), which is headed by the Chief of the Naval Staff. A response committee is meant to coordinate the efforts to deal with the disaster from Disaster Response Centre (DRC) at the PMSA Headquarters.

The DG said that this year the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency was organising the exercise BARRACUDA-VII under the guidance of the Pakistan Navy. He said the exercise was aimed at rehearsing the anti-oil spill procedures and contingency mechanism.

This marine Oil Spill exercise was being conducted in two phases. Phase-I was held today at the PMSA Headquarters, which included opening brief, discussion and pre-operational checks for a practical exercise. Pakistan Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini was the chief guest at the opening brief.

Subsequent to planning and training sessions, Phase-II will be conducted on November 16 at the North Arabian Sea near Karachi encompassing practical oil containment exercise.

The chief guest along with PMSA DG Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar and Ports and Shipping DG Asad Rafi Chandna interacted with the media on this occasion. Vice Admiral Hussaini laid stress on coordination among all participants in an effective manner to counter disasters at the sea.

Pakistan Navy units along with the PMSA and various government and civil organisations, including Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Ministry of Interior, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, Gwadar Port Authority, National Institute of Oceanography, Provincial Disaster Management Authorities, SEPA, BEPA, Pakistan Metrological Department, Bahria Foundation, China Power Hub Generation Company Limited, Shell Pakistan Limited, Pakistan Oil Refinery Limited, National Oil Refinery Limited, Oil Companies Advisory Committee, City Government of Karachi, BYCO, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Pakistan State Oil, Total Parco Marketing Limited, KANUPP and FOTCO, participated in the exercise.

Source: The Nation

Byline: Staff Reporter

November 15, 2016