Friday, 13 October 2017 12:07

EUSBSR Flagship ChemSAR saves human lives

Written by  Mariikka Whiteman & Kirsi Laitio
Commissioners Cretu & Katainen getting to know ChemSAR Commissioners Cretu & Katainen getting to know ChemSAR Photo by Kirsi Laitio

ChemSAR project is an EUSBSR Flagship aiming to no less than save human lives. Human lives will be saved by improving the efficiency of the rescue operations at sea. The rescue operations will become more effective with the help of standard operational procedures which the project creates, especially to be used in hazardous and noxious substances incidents.

ChemSAR is a flagship project under the Policy Area Safe. The main output of the project is operational plans and standard operational procedures (SOP) for maritime search and rescue operations in hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) incidents. Currently there are no such procedures even though large quantities of different chemicals are transported by sea and the risk of accidents exists in the Baltic Sea. The Finnish Border Guard, the Swedish Coast Guard and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board are working together to create SOPs that could be used in the whole Baltic Sea Region. Other project partners bring in their expertise for the best possible outcome.


The ChemSAR project has already reached its halfway. The journey so far has taken hard work from our nine partner organisations in five countries. During this time, ChemSAR has achieved its first outcomes.

The partners have jointly created a draft for the SOPs to be used in HNS incidents at sea. These have already been tested in tabletop exercises and lessons learnt have been taken into account in the development work.

The partners have also outlined the intended e-learning platform, contents of which will be formulated as other work packages progress. The partners have collected background information for the development of the chemical databank and different alternatives for the contents have been weighed up. The databank features were also tested in the tabletop exercises.

ready for tabletop photo Mariikka WhitemanReady for tabletop excercise! Photo by Mariikka Whiteman

The tabletop exercises themselves involved not only project partners but also experts from other stake-holder organisations, such as Tallink, Estonian Maritime Academy and Finnish Environment Institute. In the beginning of November the SOPs will be further tested, this time in a simulator exercise, in which all the above mentioned experts and organisations are taking part. By participating in the exercises the actors are more likely to commit to the use of the forthcoming SOPs.

ChemSAR has gained exceptionally lot of publicity all over the Baltic Sea Region and beyond. We have organised a joint discussion event in Brussels for decision makers, hosted a visit of Commissioners in Helsinki and a workshop in the European Maritime Day in Poole, UK (with three other projects). We have also visited EMSA in Lisbon, where we had a joint workshop which handled i.e. regulatory framework, EMSA’s information services on HNS and lessons learned from SOP’s.

Participants photo Päivi SöderholmChemSAR visiting EMSA in Lisbon. Photo by Päivi Söderholm.

You can read more about the first half of the project in our SPLASH! Newsletter and follow our website for further news. 

How does ChemSAR contribute to the implementation of Policy Area Safe objectives?


Policy Area Safe Coordinator, Jouni Lappalainen, answers:

“The ChemSAR project is a significant part of the current PA Safe project portfolio. The project is relevant to PA Safe actions which are aiming to enhance  the safety of maritime transportation of hazardous substances and preparedness for emergency situations. Because no Baltic Sea country cannot manage a large maritime accident alone, it is extremely important to enhance  cross border co-operation and coordination of resources between the neighboring countries.”



Chemsar emblem IBSR logo EUflag 1000px EUSBSR flagship label cmyk


Read 4324 times Last modified on Monday, 16 October 2017 13:11