ARCOPOL platform aimed to further improve maritime safety in the Atlantic area and reinforce the protection of the coastal regions from maritime pollution through the capitalization and upgrading of ARCOPOL and ARCOPOLplus outcomes. Specifically, ARCOPOLplatform organised pilot actions addressing local authorities to support the implementation of Local Contingency Plans. Moreover, these plans were improved by the inclusion of ARCOPOL deliverables (tools, guides and key knowledge on Hazardous and Noxious Substances - HNS) that were presented at workshops, training activities (blended learning), road-shows and on websites. The singularities of Natural Protected Areas and post-spill environmental monitoring issues were also considered. Similarly, ARCOPOL spill modelling tools were upgraded, shared among regions and transferred to competent authorities through tailored training. Furthermore, all activities contributed to the development of the Atlantic Technological Platform. This platform is acting as a meeting forum for public and private organizations dealing with oil and HNS spills. It focuses on the exchange of knowledge, the identification of technological supply and demand, and the development of public-private initiatives. The project was developed by a consortium involving 15 partners from 5 countries of the Atlantic Area (Ireland, UK, France, Spain and Portugal), including research organisations as well as regional competent authorities
Back in 2004, the core group of ARCOPOL partners started working together in the frame of EROCIPS project (Emergency Response to coastal Oil, Chemical and Inert Pollution from Shipping. INTERREG IIIB, 2004-2007). EROCIPS’ achievements ranged from the development of forecasting models, risk assessment and guidance on managing volunteers, to the production of training materials and the establishment of ecological monitoring programmes.
Having EROCIPS as the grounds, the series of ARCOPOL projects started in 2009. The success of the first ARCOPOL (2009-2012) facilitated the continuity of this strategy longer in time, being made a reality in the projects ARCOPOLplus (2012-2014) and ARCOPOLplatform (2014-2015).
All ARCOPOL projects shared the same final aim, which was reinforcing the preparedness and response to oil and chemical spills in the Atlantic regions. However, from project to project, both the aspects addressed and the strategy used were adapted to the actual needs identified by the partnership.
Very briefly, ARCOPOL focused on the elaboration of guides and tools to support response operations. Afterwards, In ARCOPOLplus partners kept on updating and upgrading ARCOPOL results, but also made a special effort on innovation, training and technology transfer. However in ARCOPOLplatform, the strategy consisted of stablishing a Platform both for the capitalisation of all ARCOPOL projects results and for public and private collaboration in the scope of the response to maritime pollution.
The project positively influenced local and regional response systems through, among others, the following main results: the implementation of contingency plans in 6 local authorities and 7 protected areas; the production of 3 Decision Support Tools; the organisation of training sessions (3 workshops, 4 e-learning courses) and 4 exercises; and the setting up of the ARCOPOL Platform.
All the results are available online. When appropriate, information on how to adapt them to other regions is also provided (e.g. the open source tools). Collaboration with stakeholders is promoted through the ARCOPOL Platform. The dissemination of project results outside the partnership was further favoured through meetings with national authorities and the Members of the European Parliament.
The project was implemented in the Atlantic Area, thus in the Atlantic regions of Ireland, UK, France, Spain and Portugal, countries in which organisations participating in the project were located.