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National and international experts took part in the I Technical Conference on the Specific Canary Island Plan for Accidental Marine Pollution (PECMAR) that was opened by the Minister for Regional Policy, Sustainability and Security of the Canary Island Regional Government, Nieves Lady Barreto in the PLOCAN offices in Taliarte.

Scientists and emergency personnel analysed the methods and materials necessary to tackle a hydrocarbon spill and reviewed the procedures followed in recent events in the Canary Islands and in important historical cases, including the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989, or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Some of the main objectives set by PECMAR were to create a group of experts to guide the administrations involved in contingencies of this kind, along with defining future lines for adequately developing the contingency plans and for establishing a working agenda for the group of experts, including holding new meetings, planning drills, training activities, etc.

The Regional Minister of Regional Policy explained that several hydrocarbon-related incidents had occurred over the last two years and the possibility of these oil spills reaching shore had triggered the Canary Island government’s emergency plans. Although these incidents has been small-scale ones, “they have shown us the need to improve our plans, protocols and arrangements and to prepare adequately for events of a large magnitude”, she stressed.