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Fri, 10/12/2021 - 01:00

Implementation and Operational Authorities Meeting under the Aktau Protocol – November 1-3, 2021

High-level government representatives and operational authorities discussed the implementation measures of the Aktau Protocol to the Tehran Convention (The Protocol Concerning Regional Preparedness, Response and Co-operation in Combating Oil Pollution Incidents) during the meeting, held online from 1-3 November 2021.

The experts discussed and agreed on several issues concerning the upcoming activities under the Aktau Protocol: the text of Regional Cooperation Plan in Combating Oil Pollution Incidents, the long-term exercises schedule, arrangements and budget of the Aktau Protocol implementation beyond 2021. They also discussed the opportunities of cooperation activities with the (Astrakhan) Agreement on Cooperation in Emergency Prevention and Response in the Caspian Sea.

The Protocol Concerning Regional Preparedness, Response and Co-operation in Combating Oil Pollution Incidents, adopted in Aktau, Kazakhstan, in 2011 stays the only Protocol to the Tehran Convention ratified by all the five Caspian states and entered into force in 2016. The Aktau Protocol provides “regional measures for preparedness, response and co-operation for protection of the Caspian Sea from oil pollution”. Oil spills are one of the most serious problems of pollution of the seas and oceans. They harm marine life and humans, and eliminating their consequences requires huge financial and operational costs. The main way to prevent such devastating consequences is having preparedness plans and conducting regular spill response training exercises.

In 2020 first region-wide exercise on oil pollution preparedness and response was held in online-format. Since then the Caspian countries hold regular exercises under the Aktau Protocol. The exercise programme and other activities within the Aktau Protocol are supported by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Oil Spill Preparedness Regional Initiative (OSPRI). The OSPRI is an oil industry initiative that encourages and supports the promotion of oil spill preparedness in the Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Central Eurasia. It has been established by a group of oil companies to promote oil spill preparedness.