OceanPact, in partnership with the International Spill Control Organization (ISCO), brought together public officials and experts in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, October 27, for a seminar called “Maritime Pollution and Oil Spills in the 21st Century: Lessons Learned for Brazil and Latin America – Preparedness, Response and Crisis Management.” Around 200 participants attended the conference, which represented a milestone in Brazil in terms of strategic discussions of emergency preparedness and response. Three panel discussions moderated by OceanPact’s commercial director, Érik Cunha, explored real cases of emergencies that occurred in Brazil, Mauritius and Peru.
“Events like this offer a valuable opportunity to exchange experiences, contributing to the construction of accumulated knowledge, which will benefit everyone. This strengthens our ability to face challenges and improve our practices, reinforcing our credibility and image in the international community,” said Carlos Sagrera, ISCO’s ambassador and representative for Latin America.
OceanPact’s CEO, Flavio Andrade, pointed out that the evolution of knowledge has resulted in a reduction in accidents. The executive addressed the challenges of oil exploration in Brazil’s “Equatorial Margin” region and discussed the unprecedented expedition off the coast of Amapá carried out by OceanPact to assess the best ways to measure ocean currents in the region. “Brazil is currently engaged in various discussions about environmental protection, especially in this region. We have many challenges but also many opportunities,” he said.
While talking about operations in transnational areas, Adriano Ranieri, the CEO of EnvironPact, emphasized growing understanding of the existence of spaces for mutual action. “We have seen an upward curve involving cooperation, equipment and trust between all those involved in emergency preparedness and response,” he said.
Cooperation between countries was also recognized by Fanny Chever, a project engineer at Cedre. “Continuous investment in training is fundamental in order to prepare our professionals and teams to deal with complex challenges. This involves not just improving individual skills, but also laying the foundations for solid contingency plans. Crisis situations know no borders and it is crucial for us to work closely with our neighbors,” she said.
ISCO Secretary Matthew Sommerville drew parallels between Brazil’s new exploration frontier and the experiences of other countries, such as the United States in Alaska and the United Kingdom in the North Sea. “It’s possible to learn important lessons from looking at other realities, and technical knowledge will always help push the boundaries of our actions,” he said.
This opinion was shared by Cintia Levita, an environmental analyst at the Brazilian environmental protection agency, IBAMA. “In order to face the challenges before us, it is imperative to address the gaps we have identified in our processes and, at the same time, learn from the experiences of other countries that have gone through similar situations. Revising standards is a crucial step on our journey, as updated standards can form the basis for more effective emergency plans, in line with what is feasible in practice,” she said.
Valeria Ruoppolo, director of AIUKÁ, said, “It is necessary to recognize how much we have evolved in Brazil in terms of fauna preservation in the last 20 years. There are limitations regarding the Equatorial Margin region, especially in terms of accumulated knowledge. However, it is possible for us to be prepared when we integrate fauna protection into planning work from the start to end of exploration projects,” she said.
According to Arpel consultant Marcus Lisboa, safety and sanitization mechanisms have improved and evolved over the years. “Brazil’s history of oil and gas exploration is not one of major accidents. This shows that we are doing the right thing. We have acted responsibly so far and we need to continue in this direction,” he concluded.