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Interspill 2006 Review

A total of 1,400 professionals attended the Interspill 2006 event in London making it the biggest event of its kind held outside of the United States. With state-of-the art advances in spill clean-up technology for both offshore, coastal and inland sectors on show, and a comprehensive programme which covered a diverse range of topical subjects, the event drew delegates from a total of 71 countries and 117 exhibitor companies.

One of the most popular subjects at the Interspill conference was a ‘Hot Topic’ session run by the U.S. Coastguard devoted to Hurricane Katrina. This covered many different aspects of the most devastating storm to hit the north-central Gulf Coast in recorded history. The hurricane paralysed the ports, waterways, marine transportation-related industries and vital oil and gas infrastructure throughout southeastern Louisiana and offshore, requiring an unprecedented emergency response to six major, four medium and134 minor oil spills. The experiences gained from the storm and its repercussions provided the session with outstanding first-hand knowledge of the subject, and gave a remarkable insight into what was required to deal logistically with an incident of truly global proportions.

Dynamic Plenary Session setting new standards

Day 1 set a high standard for the whole event, kicking off with a dynamic plenary session featuring opening remarks from the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt.Hon. Alistair Darling MP, as well as a keynote address by Michael Grey of Lloyds List. The panel session focused on how global changes in energy use, oil exploration, production and transportation are influencing aspects of legislation, loss prevention and spill response preparedness. Other conference tracks focused on Marine transportation, Exploration & Production, Science, Inland Spills, Waste Management and Wildlife.

Conference Chairman Archie Smith commented, “At a time when oil spills are not in the news it is encouraging to see the commitment of industry and governments working together internationally to tackle this important issue. The conference attendance far exceeded our expectations both in the number of people, the different countries and the quality and interest of the delegates. The programme tacked some difficult issues and has a legacy for the future conferences to continue to address”.

Highlights of the show included the presence of the R/V ARCA vessel moored alongside the venue. This oil recovery and research vessel is one of the most advanced oil clearance vessels in the world, and is also able to undertake a wide range of hydrographic surveys. Visitors were able to go aboard the vessel throughout the show to see demonstrations of its capabilities.

A further success were the educational short courses run the day before the exhibition and conference started, covering subjects including an introduction to oil spill response, advanced oil spill response and the oil pollution compensation range.