MARPART news - Nuuk conference

7th Marpart conference in Nuuk/Greenland provides platform for discussions on challenges related to maritime preparedness in the Arctic

Researchers and practitioners from 23 different institutions in nine countries met up in Nuuk to discuss maritime emergency management under the title “COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT WITHIN MARITIME EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS”. Large-scale incidents such as cruise ship accidents and large oil spills are among the most critical challenges that we have to prepare for. The conference gave insights into the current research on maritime emergency management and the need for additional competence. It linked up to practitioners’ demands for adequate resources and technology, and the development of competences with the help of training schemes, exercises and joint education programs. Training infrastructure such as modern simulators were discussed.

Erik Jensen (Minister for Municipalities, Settlements, Outlying Districts, Infrastructure and Housing from the Government of Greenland) welcomed conference participants emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness in the Greenland region. In addition, Suzanne Møller (Acting Rector of University of Greenland) opened the conference with a warm welcome speech.

Several Greenlandic stakeholders participated in the conference. An Advisory Board meeting took place at the Arctic Command headquarter in Nuuk Greenland – Commander Senior Grade Jakob Rousøe, Chief of Operations, hosted the visit. He gave a brief on the actions taken after the tragic tsunami that hit the West Coast of Greenland due to a landslide in June 2017. The landslide caused several casualties and two villages had to be evacuated. He explained the emergency response taken by the Arctic Command forces to mitigate the impact of the tsunami including a mass evacuation of 200 people. His lessons learned were among others:
- Interconnectedness of Crisis Response Management Organizations is highly important
- Personal relations and trust are crucial
- The first 24 hours of response are most critical
- Endurance of rescue personnel becomes vital for large scale incident response
- Synchronization between strategic-, operational and tactical level is challenging
- A clear command and organization structure improves the response
- Social media has become a big part of communication with civilians

In addition, the Fire Brigade of Nuuk was visited to facilitate knowledge exchange between Greenlandic and Norwegian Fire Brigades (see photo below). Per Gunnar Pedersen of Salten brann/Norway also gave a speech on their tasks during maritime emergencies. Salten brann fire brigade operates in an extreme maritime context and safety of their team has to be in priority. Their Maritime Incident Response Group (MIRG) Team Training includes underwater escape training, checkouts and briefs, full scale-, small-scale exercises with local ships, and passenger vessel operator Hurtigruten. In addition, they engage in MIRG national network building, sharing and aligning, smoke diving training and MIRG material controls. MIRG is competent to solve tactical challenges but large-scale incidents may pose increased capacity and coordination challenges. Decision-making is crucial and is based on trusting the information given by the other stakeholders, such as the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC). Communication under stress via all different levels is vital. The chain of command becomes complex. Additional training and exercises as well as the understanding of standard operation procedures become important.

Several other talks highlighted the importance for a broad range of measures to develop emergency management competence in complex environments, and the need to facilitate frequent training. The conference has contributed towards an increased understanding of the challenges of cooperation for Arctic maritime emergency management and the role of the incident commanders/on-scene coordinators, the SAR mission coordinators and other key personnel. The ongoing MARPART projects will be dedicated to framing further demands and challenges of emergency management training and testing out best practices in different countries.

Further news

Researcher Svetlana Kuznetsova of partner University NArFU visits “Barents Rescue 2017”:

The Marpart consortium was presented by the Russian Northern (Arctic) Federal University NArFU as observer at the international rescue exercise "Barents rescue 2017" held from 5th until 7th September in Petrozavodsk, Russia.

More than 700 rescuers from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia participated in simulated SAR activities according to four scenarios:

- wild fire in Russia near the border with Finland
- a collision between a tourist bus and a tank truck
- a collapse in the hotel due to gas explosion
- and a collision of two ships with a subsequent fire on one of them.

The results of observations at the Barents Rescue will contribute to the research of MARPART-2 project which focuses on emergency management competence and the development of tailor-made programs for education and training of key personnel involved in emergency operations.

Emmi Ikonen joins MARPART Team:

The MARPART consortium has received support from a new member. In September, Emmi Ikonen from Finland joined the MARPART family as a researcher. Her contribution for MARPART 1 will concentrate on the preparedness institutions,operational management patterns and management roles in the SAR value chain. She will also be involved with MARPART (2) MAN and MAREC projects.
(for further information on the projects see:

Before moving to the High North, Ikonen worked for the Finnish Border Guard Headquarters in Helsinki with Arctic maritime safety and search and rescue related research. Ikonen worked closely with the Arctic Coast Guard Forum and Finnish stakeholders in maritime SAR. Ikonen has Arctic background, also from the Embassy of Canada to Norway and master studies at NMBU.