Stakeholders meet to deliberate on issues identified in National OIL Spill Contingency Plan

Friends of the Nation (FoN), a Non-governmental Organisation in collaboration with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has engaged stakeholders in the Oil and Gas industry to deliberate on issues identified in the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP).

The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) was designed to take account of possible future oil spill incidents in the country and to bring together the combined resources of the nation, the oil, shipping and exploration industries to provide a level of preparedness to the threat posed to the environment when there is any issue.

The plan has been in operational since 1986 and has seen several revisions.

Currently, the Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP) is being reviewed to enable it addresses issues of oil spillage. Especially, how the victims would be compensated when there is any spillage and lives and properties are lost.

Friends of the Nation (FoN) and Centre for Public Interest Law had raised some issues that were not adequately captured in the Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP).

The issues identified include oil spill prevention, wildlife response plan, sensitivity mapping and environmental sensitivity atlas, dispersant use policy, and border crossing impact of oil spill, natural resources damage assessment oil spill liability citizen advisory council were not sufficiently captured in the plan.

The meeting was organised by Friends of the Nation (FoN) and Centre for Public Interest Law with support from Oxfam and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD).

It was attended by representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Maritime Authority, Fisheries Commission, Wildlife Division, Forestry Commission, Security Agencies and Civil Society Organisations.

The Acting Director of Petroleum at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kojo Agbenor-Efunam in an interview indicated that the contingency plan cannot address the issues of compensation unless a law is enacted, so they are developing a law which is Petroleum Environmental Regulations to enable them claim compensations for the affected people.

He commended Friends of the Nation and its partners for providing valuable commendations to improve the Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

He indicated that Agency has taken note of most of the recommendations and will incorporate them into the Plan.

He said that  issues of compensation for lives and properties were not well addressed in the Plan and they are working to address it.

He assured Ghanaians that the EPA will work with other stakeholders to develop a Wildlife Response Plan and work to re-open negotiations with neighbouring countries to address transboundary issues.

The Natural Resources Coordinator of the Friends of the Nation (FoN), Solomon Ampofo, also in an interview said that the meeting with the stakeholders was to have a comprehensive assessment on the oil contingency plan and how it can be amended to address any future spillage.

A Report Filed By Matthew Dadzie, Takoradi.

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