Special Item – History of ISCO

Sponsored Article by ISCO

In 2007 ISCO was granted Consultative Status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and is the only such organisation representing the spill response industry. Members now have a voice in the drafting of legislation, rules and guidelines that impact on their interests.

Since 2007 ISCO has been an active contributor to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and its OPRC-HNS Technical Group. Presentations made have included recommendations regarding –

  • Collation of Information on HNS response and Sub-Sea Oil recovery;
  • Discharge of Settled-out Water during Oil Spill Recovery Operations;
  • Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors;
  • Knowledge-based response planning for marine incidents
  • A New Chemical Spill Response Manual
  • The New International and USA Response Contracts (RESPONSECON)

Photo (above): The ISCO Delegation at an IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group meeting. From left to right, standing – Dr Wierd Koops, Honorary Member, (Netherlands); Dr Merv Fingas, Member of ISCO Council for Canada; seated – John McMurtrie, ISCO Secretary (UK); David Usher, ISCO President (USA); Dr Douglas Cormack, Honorary Member (UK). Photo: Courtesy of Josée Lamoureux.

In 2013 ISCO introduced new classes of professional membership that recognise the qualifications and experience of spill responders and others in the international spill response community.

ISCO President David Usher said “This fills a long felt need and will help meet the aspirations of many in the industry who have long felt that their qualifications and experience should be recognised. The creation of professional memberships will encourage all who are making a career in the field of oil and chemical pollution control to take pride in their chosen profession”.

The key word is “professional” when applied to men and women who are making a success in their careers and have the necessary levels of knowledge and expertise. Professional recognition is a visible mark of quality, competence and commitment, and can offer a significant advantage in today’s competitive environment.

Students, apprentices and trainees can join ISCO as student members and pursue a career development path that, as qualifications and experience are gained, can lead to eligibility for Associate Membership (AMISCO), Membership (MISCO) and, eventually, Fellowship (FISCO). Academic qualifications are not a requirement if applicants can demonstrate the necessary levels of competence through their experience, skills and professional development.

In any major pollution event there are well established mechanisms for inter-governmental co-operation. ISCO provides a complementary facility for authorities and other entities to quickly access support from the private sector, assisting in the rapid sourcing of specialised know-how, equipment and materials. An example was during the Deepwater Horizon spill. The support provided by ISCO was personally acknowledged by the National Incident Commander, Admiral Thad Allen. Following on the more recent emergency in Bangladesh, the facility was further improved to help ensure rapid relay of requests for assistance to ISCO member companies interested in providing spill response support (see http://www.spillcontrol.org/emergency-assistance) ISCO was a significant contributor to the IMO working group working on the development of the International Offers of Assistance (IOA) Guidelines which have since been approved by IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC).

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