The next BALEX DELTA exercise will be hosted by Denmark in 2019, under the lead of the Defence Command of Denmark. The Danish edition will also be the BALEX DELTA 30-year anniversary.
Held every year since 1989, the BALEX DELTA exercises are conducted under the framework of the Helsinki Convention that calls for its signatories – all Baltic Sea nations – to have the necessary operational capacity and skills to respond to any maritime incident at sea and affecting the shore.
The recently concluded exercise was conducted in Karlskrona, Sweden from 28 to 30 August 2018 and simulated a cargo ship carrying chemical containers running aground in harsh weather, with chemicals and oil leaking into the sea and reaching the shore.
The exercise mobilized about 500 personnel from eight countries and the EU. 18 maritime vessels, one aircraft, one helicopter and various clean-up tools were deployed. 40,000 litres of popcorn were released into the sea to simulate the oil spill.
Already in 1977, the Baltic Sea nations signatories to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea – in short, the Helsinki Convention – set the premises for intergovernmental response cooperation and established an intergovernmental working group, today’s HELCOM Response Working Group.
Since then, the region’s ability to respond to maritime accidents has been continually reinforced. In 1983, the HELCOM Response Manual was first compiled, containing detailed information and procedures on how to handle different maritime accidents at the regional level.
Under the lead of the Swedish Coast Guard, the BALEX DELTA 2018 was co-organised by the County Administrative Board of Skåne:, HELCOM, MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency), Polish Maritime Search and Rescue Service, and SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute).