Despite the benefits of the oil sector and maritime industry, the presence of oil platforms offshore and shipping activities can have dangerous and monumental social and environmental challenges on humans and the entire marine environment. Most especially, offshore drilling and shipping can generate marine pollution owing to oil spill whose effects can be highly detrimental in terms of survival of marine habitat and safety generally. West, Central and Southern Africa region is particularly vulnerable since offshore oil production and shipping are major activities and an oil spill disaster will be catastrophic for the coastal environment and for the whole of the region because of the movement of the water’s current northwards along the coast. In most places, the use of chemical as a response is common as a first response instead of using mechanical equipment, with negative implications of chemical on environment and humans.
Also, the use of disposable, single-use plastic items has effectively turned our oceans into plastic soup. While it is true that not all marine garbage is plastic, current peer-reviewed research clearly indicates that plastic is the dominant material littering the ocean, and its proportion consistently varies between 60 and 80 percent of the total garbage in the ocean.
In addition to the plastic pollution found in the ocean, researchers are finding more and more plastic washing up on the shores of remote islands, and in the bellies of dead sea birds and marine mammals. In its August 2006 Pollution Bulletin, the Marine Mammal Commission wrote, "The accumulating debris poses increasingly significant threats to marine mammals, seabirds, turtles, fish, and crustaceans. The threats are straightforward and primarily mechanical. Individual animals may become entangled in loops or openings of floating or submerged debris or they may ingest plastic materials. Animals that become entangled may drown, have their ability to catch food or avoid predators impaired, or incur wounds from abrasive or cutting action of attached debris. Ingested plastics may block digestive tracts, damage stomach linings, or lessen feeding drives.
The deceptively simple nature of the threat, the perceived abundance of marine life, and the size of the oceans have, until recently, caused resource managers to overlook or dismiss the proliferation of potentially harmful plastic debris as being insignificant. However, developing information suggests that the mechanical effects of these materials affect many marine species in many ocean areas, and that these effects justify recognition of persistent plastic debris as a major form of ocean pollution.
- To highlight environmental issues related to use of chemical dispersants during oil spills and promote use of mechanical response as first means of containment and recovery.
- To discuss development of national contingency plans and regional cooperation in oil spill situations.
- To promote information exchange among professionals, researchers, public and private sector on fisheries protection
- Two – day conference on Marine Safety and fisheries protection
- Exhibition of new machinery and hardware.
- Demonstration exercises
Conferences are delivered face to face by selected speakers and facilitators. There will be sessions provided for participants to make contributions on issues discussed and information communicated. After the conference a communique will be prepared highlighting key issues and consensus reached.
- Heads of national, regional and international institutions related to marine safety and transportation. These include, Ministries of transportation, shipper’s council and agencies related to marine oil spill detection management and containment.
- Senior officers of the ministry of environment, Department of petroleum resources, and foreign affairs.
- Regional bodies include representatives of countries signatory to Abidjan Convention.
- Representatives of international oil companies and operators of offshore platforms. Professionals researchers and the private sector companies.
- UN agencies