9th National Level Pollution Response Exercise (NATPOLREX-IX)

News Excerpt:

The Indian Coast Guard conducted the 9th National Level Pollution Response Exercise (NATPOLREX-IX) on 25 Nov 2023 off Vadinar, Gujarat. 

About the exercise:

  • It aims to assess the preparedness and coordination between various resource agencies to respond to a marine oil spill while invoking the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP) provisions.
  • The exercise involved the deployment of surface and air platforms by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), such as Pollution Response Vessels (PRVs), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-III, and Dornier Aircraft configured for marine pollution response.
  • Over 31 foreign observers and 80 delegates participated in the event, showcasing India's industrial prowess in the "Make in India" and "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" initiatives.
  • Additionally, major ports and other stakeholders deployed their maritime assets to demonstrate synergised efforts in combating marine pollution.

Initiatives by ICG regarding oil spills:

  • The Indian Coast Guard is the central authority responsible for responding to oil spills in Indian waters.
    • They began protecting the marine environment in India's maritime zones on March 7, 1986, when this responsibility was transferred from the Ministry of Shipping.
  • The ICG then developed the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP) in 1993.
  • In addition to creating the NOSDCP, the Coast Guard has established four Pollution Response Centers in Mumbai, Chennai, Port Blair, and Vadinar.

NOSDCP:

  • The National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan prescribes procedures and provides information required in case of oil spills.
  • India is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has an obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.
  • The Forty-second Amendment to the Constitution of India obliges the Indian state to endeavour to protect and improve the environment.
  • Thus, this plan is a measure of fulfilment of the obligation of the State under both the Law of the Sea Convention and the Constitution of India.