As the next preparedness exercise to be held in Montréal, Canada approaches, the Arctic Council recently announced that the “Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic”, which the eight Arctic Council Member States signed in 2013, was formally ratified in late March 2016.
The fact that the agreement hadn’t been formally ratified in the interim period didn’t prevent the Arctic States from holding workshops and exercises on oil spill preparedness in the meantime. Canada hosted a communications exercise in 2014 - the first exercise conducted after the agreement was signed. A follow-up workshop hosted at the US Coast Guard headquarters in September 2015 reviewed lessons learned from the first exercise and identified the highest-risk Arctic spill scenarios in preparation for the June 2016 exercise in Montréal.
To be held in tandem with the first Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group meeting of 2016, the upcoming exercise “will be an opportunity for the participants to forge lasting working relationships with their counterparts in other federal, state and local agencies across the Arctic Council.”