Sea Alarm facilitated the cooperation between different European oiled wildlife response groups during oil spill events. In 2002, Sea Alarm organised informal exchange between these groups to collaborate and develop standards to apply during oiled wildlife response interventions
Sea Alarm receives further structural and ad-hoc funding for its mission. European groups start to meet more frequently and expand their activities.
The overall objective of this project was to initiate the exchange of information and experiences between Member States to develop a set of tools and a draft international response plan by which they could achieve a higher state of preparedness for oiled wildlife incidents. This project was led by Sea Alarm in partnership with CEDRE, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Istituto centrale per la ricerca scientifica e tecnologica applicata al mare (ICRAM), Finnish Environment Institute (SKYE), ITOPF and Oil Spill Response (OSRL).
The main objective of this project was the development of the Handbook on Seabird Population Impact Assessment which involved scientists from across Europe. Together they defined the best practices for collection and necropsy of dead oiled seabirds after an oil spill incident, and for subsequent data analysis. The main conclusions from the workshop were used to write the Handbook. This project involved the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) as project leader, the University A Coruña and Sea Alarm and ran between 2006 and 2007.
The project brought together European marine wildlife responders to discuss oiled wildlife assistance at a European level. Together they develop a set of guidelines on the collection, cleaning, rehabilitation of oiled marine animals which led to the publication of the Handbook for the Rehabilitation of Oiled Birds. This project therefore marked the start of an important process to increase professionalism amongst expert European groups to improve future oiled wildlife response. This project was led by ZooMarine in partnership with Sea Alarm, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Istituto centrale per la ricerca scientifica e tecnologica applicata al mare (ICRAM).
The main objective of the EnSaCo Oil Spill (Environment and Safety Management Cooperation on Shoreline Oil Spill Response) project was to raise the level of expertise and to intensify cross-border shoreline response cooperation between authorities and NGOs in Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Russia.
The RIOS project’s primary goal was to develop an action plan for future research on oiled wildlife response and preparedness, and to stimulate contacts and future co-operation between scientists, wildlife responders, oil industry and governmental organisations. This project involved Nordeconsult, ZooMarine and Sea Alarm
In 2009, EU funding financed the development of the EMPOWER project. This initiative was designed to develop tools and mechanisms allowing NGOs to develop their expertise together in being prepared for responding to oiled wildlife incidents. The EMPOWER Network was the forerunner of EUROWA
During the Full City Spill (Norway, 2009), a European team assisted their Norwegian colleagues in responding to birds affected by that spill to develop a first draft of a joint “European” seabird rehabilitation protocol. This document was discussed from 2009 to 2014 between three groups: Wildlife Rescue Centre Ostend, RSPCA and ProBird and was finally published by Sea Alarm in 2014 as the first version of the European Protocol. That protocol has been updated over the years and today is part of the EUROWA standards series. Look at related pictures
The POSOW project focussed on improving preparedness and response to marine pollution in the Mediterranean region, through development of four training packages, including one on oiled wildlife response. The package was designed to help teams of volunteers to understand and implement field wildlife response operations which have been assigned to them by authorities in charge of the response. The POSOW Manual and training course have become part of the EUROWA training portfolio and Standards series
The EU-funded project EUROWA aimed at establishing a network of European experts and response equipment that can be mobilised via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The project partners developed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for EUROWA, a portfolio of professional oiled wildlife responder training packages together with a range of Manuals and Handbooks. They also provided training courses following a qualification training path, developed a database keeping track of all the trained responders across Europe and established a maintenance programme for a European stockpile of oiled wildlife response equipment currently hosted in Belgium
The Aramco Project enabled an effective roll-out of the EUROWA activities. It led to the development of training packages, the maintenance of the EUROWA equipment stockpile and the delivery of 3 authority workshops on national oiled wildlife preparedness. This one-year pilot project
On June 23 2018, the Bow Jubail lost 227 tonnes of bunker fuel oil in the Port of Rotterdam. A thousand Mute swans were oiled. The EUROWA personnel is mobilised alongside members of the GOWRS project. 526 oiled birds were captured and taken to a temporary rehab centre at the Maeslant storm surge barrier, Hoek van Holland. Over a four-week period 511 mute swans were rehabiltated and released. Watch the retrospective video made during the Oiled Wildlife Response Read the related News post Look at the related pictures
In 2019, the EUROWA Charter was established and signed to formalise the EUROWA Network at a summit meeting of the leading organisations which form the EUROWA Governance Committee. The Charter describes the Network and its objectives and services, provides governance rules, and is a shared vision where European countries are able to deal effectively with emergencies that affect marine wildlife with each country developing their own integrated plans and preparedness programmes.