Source: Saudi Aramco
“Offshore Oil Spill Prevention and Response Through New Technologies” was the theme for the sixth Offshore Arabia Conference and Exhibition. The event was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. It was organized by the Regional Clean Sea Organization (RECSO) of which Saudi Aramco is a founding member.
In his opening remarks, HE Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water, said, “Geographic borders do not hinder spills.” He noted that because of that, regional cooperation in such instances is vital to minimize the impact of such spills, which emphasizes why the Arabian Offshore Conference is so important.
Salem A. Al Wehaibi, chairman of RECSO, said, “Saudi Aramco’s contribution and strong commitment has made Offshore Arabia possible and an ongoing event.”
The conference emphasized technology, said Khalid Al-Harbi, Saudi Aramco global oil response director of the Marine Department, because it is an essential factor in successfully responding to spills. Al-Harbi said the conference allows oil spill experts to share the latest developments in the field.
Chairing the technology and innovation session, Al-Harbi emphasized that technological advancements will enable more efficient responses to spills and that oil spill responders should use new technologies to their fullest potential.
One such field is tanker vetting. Captain Mohammed J. Al-Hajri, senior harbor pilot from Terminal Operations Department, described the Saudi Aramco Automated Tanker Vetting System (ATVS).
The Saudi Aramco ATVS is a dynamic and highly detailed system that is used to mitigate risk inherent in tanker operations. The main objective of the ATVS is to identify substandard tankers during the nomination process and before they are accepted for berthing at Saudi Aramco facilities.
The ATVS is Saudi Aramco’s front line defense in preventing pollution and ensuring the responsible operations of all vessels calling at all Saudi Aramco terminals.
Additional safeguards in place to protect company facilities are pre-berthing safety inspections. Upon a ship’s arrival, a Saudi Aramco harbor pilot inspects the ship to ensure compliance with company and international regulations and standards. These inspections are continuously conducted throughout the cargo-loading operation.
Ibraheem M. Al-Maey, senior harbor pilot from Terminal Operations Department, presented the Ras Tanura Port Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS). Saudi Aramco operates a state-of-the-art VTMS in the Port of Ras Tanura that is a vital link in the protection of the environment by monitoring all vessel traffic transiting Saudi Aramco waters en route to company terminals or to nearby ports.
The exhibition section of OffShore Arabia had 120 participating companies and institutions from more than 50 countries. With 6,000 visitors and the majority of participants planning to attend to Offshore Arabian 2014, the event was considered a success by organizers and attendees.
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Oil spill response focus of 2012 Offshore Arabia
Source: Saudi Aramco