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Italy seeks oil spill response co-operation in Adriatic

Wed 21 Mar 2018 by Martyn Wingrove

Italy seeks oil spill response co-operation in Adriatic
Ievoli Red responds to oil spills for Castalia including one in Sicily in March 2018

Castalia operates a fleet of 36 vessels to respond to oil spills around the Italian coast and co-operates with France and Monaco under the Ramoge agreement

An agreement is on the cards to provide integrated oil spill response services throughput the Adriatic. Castalia Consorzio Stabile, the main provider of oil spill response services to the Italian government, is in discussions with authorities and emergency response providers in Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro to provide infrastructure for dealing with oil slicks in the region. It already provides a standby vessel in the Adriatic on behalf of the European Maritime Safety Agency.

Castalia works with French and Monegasque authorities and responders under the Ramoge agreement to protect northern Mediterranean coastlines. This agreement – which was signed in 1976 between Monaco, France and Italy – covers co-operation to provide marine environmental protection, including oil spill response, in the Ligurian Sea and Mediterranean from Marseille, France to La Spezia, Italy. Ramoge also covers coasts and seas around Corsica and Sardinia.

Italian authorities are eager to have a similar agreement for sharing marine environment protection in the Adriatic, said Castalia manager Stefano Casu. Italy already has a bilateral agreement with Greece covering the Ionian Sea.

Castalia is a consortium of 33 Italian vessel operators and reacts to any environmental spillages off Italy’s coastline and in the nation’s waterways, including around Sicily and Sardinia. It has 15 bases, with 12 on the mainland, one on Sicily and two on Sardinia. It operates a fleet of 36 dedicated vessels and can call on other vessels from Italian owners if required.

“We have vessels on standby with booms and skimmers ready to respond to spills within five hours, which can be a complicated activity,” Mr Casu told Tug Technology & Business. It operates nine tugs that are ready to tackle offshore oil accidents and 27 coastal vessels.

“We have vessels on standby with booms and skimmers ready to respond to spills within five hours”

“Each tug has up to 400 m of booms, skimmers, absorbent materials, pumps and oil storage,” said Mr Casu. Castalia also uses drones and balloons with four cameras on board and radar for oil spillage surveillance.

Castalia works for other clients including state-run energy group Eni, gas producer Eon, cable construction company Prysmian and ship operator Grimaldi Group. It can remove wrecks, salvage marine casualties and conduct seabed mapping, geophysical, environmental and archaeological surveys.

Perhaps the most notorious salvage project Castalia was involved in was the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012. “We were there from Day One until the end,” said Mr Casu. Castalia assisted Smit and Titan during the recovery, wreck-lift and transit to Genoa.

Turkish resources

In Turkey, MOST Maritime, which is affiliated with tug operator and builder Sanmar, provides marine environment protection, including oil spill response. MOST general manager Gökce Oral said it operates in 16 regions around Turkey with emergency response and rapid response vessels.

It also operates five 15 m tugs and can use Sanmar-operated tugs if necessary, she told Tug Technology & Business. MOST has 12-18 vessels on standby around the Turkish coast.

“When we are notified of an oil spill we have to initiate our operations and deploy a boom in just one hour,” said Ms Oral. This notification can come from the Turkish authorities or coastguard and MOST also provides oil spill response for oil companies that operate terminals and refineries in the country.

In the Black Sea, MOST provides services to the offshore industry. It supports construction of trunk gas pipelines from Russia and tackles pollution from the network of oil and gas platforms.

Castalia facts

Structure: Consortium of 33 shipowners

Main role: Oil spill response around Italy

Other roles: Salvage, wreck removal, surveys

Bases: 15

Headquarters: Rome

Fleet: 27 coastal vessels, 9 tugs

Established: 1986

Agreements: With France & Monaco (Ramoge Agreement); with Greece covering Ionian Sea

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