After 15 years of cooperation, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) together with the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and the Centre for Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution (Cedre) have amended their three-party Cooperation Agreement to extend the MAR-ICE service until the end of 2027, thereby offering continued support in the event of chemical emergencies at sea, EMSA states on its website.
The three organisations have been working together since 2008, when they first established the network of chemical experts, known as the MAR-ICE network, to strengthen the transfer of information on chemical substances involved in maritime pollution emergencies occurring in European waters.
Since it became operational, the MAR-ICE service has been activated over 60 times, both for exercises as well as real incidents, demonstrating the added value of the cooperation established between EMSA, Cedre and the European chemical industry through Cefic.
Upon request and through a single contact point, the network provides EU Member States and the coastal states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with product-specific information and expert advice on chemicals involved in marine pollution incidents.
When a request is placed, an expert from the chemical industry may be made available to provide on-site advice and assistance at the operational centre of the requesting country dealing with the response operations.
This is known as MAR-ICE ‘level-2’ support, which builds on the specialised information and advice already provided remotely by the network known as MAR-ICE ‘level-1’.
This two-tiered approach allows for both remote and on-site expert support to be provided in the event of a chemical emergency at sea.
In addition, rapid and direct access to a chemical expert who can provide and clarify relevant information on chemical substances is critical in responding to and managing chemical emergencies, and the MAR-ICE service makes this available 24/7 across the EU.
The relevant documentation describing the service provided and the operational procedures for activating the MAR-ICE network have been distributed by EMSA to the relevant national administrations.
The three parties continue to raise awareness on the service among national administrations and chemical companies.