International oil accident response drills in the Gulf of Riga

From 30 August to 1 September, the annual International Baltic Sea Emergency Response Exercise BALEX 2023 will take place in the Gulf of Riga and its coastline. The exercise is organised by the State Environmental Service (SES) in cooperation with the National Armed Forces Naval Coast Guard Service (NBS NCS) and the State Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

The aim of the exercise is to test the readiness of the Baltic Sea States to respond in a unified manner in the event of a spill of oil products and hazardous chemicals. The exercise will involve 11 military and civilian vessels equipped with oil pollution response equipment from 8 Baltic Sea countries - Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Germany, Sweden, as well as the Latvian National Armed Forces Naval Patrol Squadron Headquarters and Supply Vessel A-90 "Varonis", Coast Guard Vessel KA-14 "Astra" and State Border Guard Patrol Vessel "Rānda". 

The aim of the practical coastal exercise is not only to test and develop cooperation between fire-fighters and other involved services in oil pollution response operations, but also to test the effectiveness of requesting and receiving international assistance. 

The International Oil Spill Response Exercise in the Baltic Sea is held annually in accordance with the 1992 Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Region (the Helsinki Convention), under which the Baltic Sea States cooperate in large-scale oil spill response and preparedness.