Responding to maritime accidents can be especially challenging when involving Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) that behave as gases or evaporators. Due to their potential to form toxic or combustible clouds, evidence-based decisions are needed to protect the crew, responders, the coastal population and the environment.
However, when an emergency is declared, key information is not always readily available for all the needs of responders. A case in point is the lack of knowledge and data to assess the risks that responders or rescue teams could take when intervening, or those that could impact coastal communities when allowing a shipping casualty to dock at a place of refuge.
The objectives of MANIFESTS (MANaging risks and Impacts From Evaporating and gaseous Substances To population Safety) are:
- to enhance our knowledge of accidental releases of hazardous substances and in particular the related formation of toxic and explosive gas clouds,
- to improve response capacities through the creation of novel and innovative decision support tools and operational guidelines, and to facilitate access to relevant knowledge and databases, all housed within a dedicated open source web platform (a Decision Support System or DSS) accessible to planners and responders.
Bespoke training materials and exercises will demonstrate project outputs to key stakeholders, paving the way to transfer guidance and training capabilities to end-users beyond partner organisations.
The project consortium involves 9 research institutes and administrations from 6 countries in the Atlantic area (Belgium, France, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK) with strong and complementary expertise in all of the aspects of marine pollution being addressed by the project, namely:
- chemical analysis (Cedre),
- pollution modelling (RBINS, INTECMAR, IST, MET.NO),
- decision support tools (RBINS, INTECMAR),
- risk assessment and management (ARMINES, PHE, Cedre),
- training and exercises (Cedre, INTECMAR, CETMAR)
- knowledge transfer (CETMAR, DG-ENV, Cedre).
This particularly ambitious project has received strong support from the national authorities of the different countries involved, and will also benefit from the technical and logistical expertise of the French Navy during practical exercises and trials at sea.