Last week, the research vessel Hanna Resvoll and crew participated in a comprehensive exercise in Svalbard after obtaining oil spill response certification. We talked to Charlotte Sandmo and Piera Guttorm. Together with Marcos Porcires and Arve Johnsen, they count the crew certified for operations.
Kystverket led the operation to test tools, expertise, and communication and involved multiple stakeholders from Tromsø and Svalbard, including vessels such as the KV Barentshav, Polarsyssel, OV Bøkfjord, Polar Xplorer, Advent supplier, Elling Karlsen and Hanna Resvoll.
“When UNIS bought the research vessel, we were an early initiator of collaboration with the Coastal Administration,” Charlotte Sandmo explains.
This resulted in necessary upgrades and investments in the boat to meet the response certification requirements. Hanna Resvoll’s suitability for response tasks were tested before finally receiving the approval this year.
UNIS is a highly sought-after collaborator in different preparedness scenarios, with its staff possessing considerable field experience. For UNIS, building and further developing their in-house expertise is essential while making their experts valuable from a societal perspective.
“As a state-owned company working with safety and preparedness daily, we see it as our duty to contribute,” Piera Guttorm says.
Since the Hanna Resvoll and the crew is out in Isfjorden most of the year, they can easily be ready for operations if needed. And the size allows the boat to sail in shallower waters.
“There is a smaller boom in reserve, which Hanna Resvoll can independently utilize for operations if needed,” Charlotte Sandmo explains.
Oil spill in Skansebukta
Last week’s exercise involved a rather realistic scenario: they were to collect oil spills following a simulated grounding in Skansebukta. Instead of oil, they used a specially designed foam that dissolves in water without causing environmental harm.
The exercise was meticulously executed, with Hanna Resvoll cooperating with the Coast Guard to tow a containment boom designed to collect the oil. In addition to navigation, the crew had to contend with manoeuvring heavy equipment on the vessel’s limited deck space.
“This is an excellent example of how stakeholders can collaborate effectively to manage emergencies such as oil spills,” says Sandmo and Guttorm.
This collaboration strengthens preparedness, reduces the risk of environmental damage, and meets societal expectations for governmental entities to fulfil their societal responsibilities.