Oil/HNS Spill Response Capacity Building for the Protection of Malta’s Seas

Project facts

Project promoter:
The Authority for Transport in Malta
Project Number:
Target groups
Public and private organizations, including not-for-profit organizations and NGOs, responsible for the organization and delivery of education and training at local, regional and national levels
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 361,452
The project is carried out in:


Malta’s capacity to respond to oil/HNS spills will be taken a step further through the actions undertaken as part of this project whose objectives are to: - Address training requirements at national level in case of Tier 2* or Tier 3** spills - Establish a training programme once the training needs have been identified - Additionally also address pollution from oil offshore drilling operations within and outside of Malta’s territorial waters following recent concerns in this sector With respect to identifying training needs and then attend to them, a training gap analysis as well as proposals on how to address that gap is necessary. The training requirements for the twenty-five roles identified in the National Maritime Pollution Contingency Plan (NMPCP) 2009 as requiring specialised or refresher training should be targeted as well as the deployment of additional personnel, including volunteers and their coordinators. A call for proposals for the provision of training courses to the relevant personnel will be launched. The project will also establish which equipment would be required for immediate and sustainable long-term training and will include study visits. In order to address risks from offshore drilling, the project will also yield studies addressing potential pollution from offshore oil drilling operations. The results of these studies will then be incorporated as an appendix to the approved NMPCP 2009, thereby addressing this risk in line with national requirements and International Conventions such as OPRC90. *Tier 2 - is a spill which would require additional assistance from 3rd parties such as other terminals or facilities and/or use national stockpiles **Tier 3 – is a spill which requires the use of national stockpiles where normally external international assistance would be required if the national stockpile is not adequate.

Summary of project results

Malta, being a small island in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea and situated along the main shipping routes of the region, is highly effected by any change on its coastal and marine waters. These waters are at high risk from pollution incidents involving vessels calling at Malta’s ports, anchored in waiting and bunkering areas or navigating international shipping routes past the Maltese coastline. The risk of oil spillages beaching on the island’s shores and causing irreversible environmental damage is a realistic threat. The Ports and Yachting Directorate under the Authority for Transport in Malta and the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket or NCA) collaborated on “Oil/HNS Spill Response Capacity Building for the Protection of Malta’s Seas”, both being the competent authorities to combat oil spill response at sea. It complemented another project financed through EEA Grants 2004-2009 and hence was a continuation of what had been achieved so far with respect to oil/HNS pollution preparedness and response at national level. Malta’s capacity to respond to oil/HNS spills was to be taken a step further by the project’s outputs, namely two major studies, forming the basis of the revision of the national contingency plan at a strategic level and the identification of training needs at an operational level. Other results of this pre-defined project included the provision of appropriate training programmes and the procurement of specialised equipment, crucial for training and for pollution response. The proposed preparedness/response strategies highlighted in the study are now reflected in the Maltese National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (NMPCP) 2009, which was consequently revised and now includes an annex on the issue of addressing risks of offshore drilling as well as a new paragraph on addressing pollution. A second study was an assessment on the current level of training and a gap-analysis of training needs. This was essential in developing a number of training programmes, and the associated learning outcomes, with the result that seventeen (17) different training programmes were identified and developed. Building on these results, the project successfully moved on to follow up and work on the proposals presented. The training requirements for the twenty-five (25) roles identified in the NMPCP 2009 were fulfilled through the completion of 21 training courses in which 326 persons participated. Out of these, 134 persons were identified as requiring specialised or refresher training and as a result, were trained to a higher level.

Summary of bilateral results

The Norwegian Coastal Administration, through their expertise and knowledge, guided TM throughout the execution of this project by participating in meetings, which meetings included steering committee meetings and tender evaluation meetings. They also provided input in the design, management and execution of training programmes and advised how TM may obtain a maximised benefit from the Grant. Both the NCA and TM shared a common economic/social goal, which was realised through the implementation of the project. All activities involving the Norwegian Project Partner, including travel expenses by both sides to Malta or Norway respectively, were financed through the project funds. The interaction between TM and Kystverket - NCA, will positively affect overall capacity building and a more efficient management and response to incidents on a national level. The support and guidance of the NCA also served to address an educational (social) disparity as part of this process while economic disparity was addressed through the direct engagement of NCA, which was supported through the same funds from which the PP was benefitting.