The lead agency is responsible for any marine pollution incident. A break in the response process chain can delay response and lose the opportunity to mitigate any impact in the first instance. The aim of this report is to recommend steps to rectify the current deficiencies in the marine pollution emergency response system and upgrade the response effectiveness.
The main issues that are addressed in this report are improving the notification process, defining the tiered response levels, the roles and responsibilities of the difference response agencies, establish the standard operating procedures and enhance the efficiency and capability to respond to pollution in the marine environment including rivers and streams. This is done through a proper model of management of equipment distribution, storage and maintenance.
The job of responding to marine emergencies are given to specialized units and agencies or outsourced to professional contractors in many different countries. The main advantage of this is that the people are doing this as their primary job and are more familiar with the processes hence are experienced, better trained and more effective and efficient in responding when activated by the lead agency. The lead agency uses these resources as their advisors and response units but is free from the responsibility of training and the daily upkeep of these qualified professionals.
It is recommended that a special response or pollution control unit be set up or have this task outsourced to experienced private contractors to maximize the effectiveness of response to marine pollution matters. Target areas of improvement include notification process, mobilization times, proper and effective response strategies through development of response plans to environmentally sensitive areas and proper prioritizing of these areas to minimize impact to ecology and reduce economical losses.
One of the main deficiencies of the marine pollution response system is the improper maintenance of response equipment. Since the acquisition of these equipments in 2001, it is distributed to individual EPBs and CGS units. However these units do not have qualified maintenance professionals and are not given the proper equipment maintenance programs for the equipment. It is highly recommended that a maintenance programme for all equipment be set up and outsourced to maintenance professionals to ensure that all the equipment are in response-ready state. It is also recommended to have a medium and long term plan to renew and enhance the equipment stockpile.
The last recommendation is to encourage private response organizations and contractors to set up in Taiwan to enhance the overall response capability. Training and exercises can also be outsourced to these professional companies. Involvement and interaction of oil and other related industries are also recommended.
The second part of this project is to assist in organizing the cross-straits marine pollution response mutual aid programme. This includes establishing the process of mobilization and cooperation for future reference. As part of this initiative, a cross-straits Table-top exercise between Taiwan and China is developed and facilitated to ensure the processes and procedures established are tested and both parties are in agreement of this process.
The last part of this project is to continue with the investigation and record of coastal environmental sensitivity index mapping. We finished the survey of 366 kilometers coastline in eastern Taiwan; the data is indexed and added to the decision making system database of EPA. This database will ensure that the lead and response agencies can respond with proper supporting data to decide on suitable strategies and set up priorities to respond in different environmental sensitive areas. One area for improvement in the decision making system is to add baseline studies and environmental monitoring and consolidate these with the existing oil spill model as a continual process to capture the ever changing environmental through either natural processes or human activities.