MEDIA ADVISORY: Baltic-wide oil catastrophe rehearsed

Oil response exercise HELCOM Balex Delta 2016


Tuesday 21 June 2016 at 09.00–15.00 (CET). Operational phase at sea and on the shore. Debriefing at 18.00–19.00


Fifteen specially equipped response vessels from eight Baltic coastal countries; Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden, and around 120 participants of the national shoreline response exercise.


Exercise area at sea: North of Klaipeda port, Lithuania

Exercise area on the shore: Karkle beach, north of Klaipeda town in front of Zilvitis camp

Exercise debriefing: Amberton Klaipeda Hotel, Naujojo Sodo g. 1C



The HELCOM Balex Delta exercise simulates a large real life oil catastrophe in one of the most vulnerable – and busiest – sea areas in the world. The goal is to recover as much oil as possible in the open sea before it would reach the shores, as estimates are that this is roughly ten times more cost-efficient than shoreline clean-up.


The annual HELCOM Balex Delta is hosted this year by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of the Lithuanian Navy. The shore operation is coordinated by Klaipeda City Fire and Rescue Service. More than forty persons, many from outside the region, have signed up as observers of the exercise.


The exercise programme, list of participating units at sea and on shore, as well as the list of vessels and equipment are provided as attachments.


HELCOM Balex Delta, organized since the late 1980s, test the procedures documented in the HELCOM Response Manual and the response capability of the HELCOM member countries in case of a major accident and an international response operation. The general objective of the Balex Delta exercises is to ensure that every Contracting Party is able to lead a major response operation.


Media representatives are asked to apply for accreditation by 15 June 2016, by providing contact information (name, media, e-mail, phone number) to:


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The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region.HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," more usually known as the Helsinki Convention, from 1974.


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For further information, please contact:
Johanna Laurila (Ms)
Information Secretary
Mobile: +358 40 523 8988
E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)


Antanas Brencius (Mr.)
Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Officer
Maritime rescue coordination center
Tel: +370 46 391 207
Mobile: +370 698 18 196

About Us

HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission) is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the EU, working to protect the Baltic marine environment and to ensure safety of navigation in the region.




Quick facts

Special vessels from eight Baltic coastal countries will practice a large oil spill in the Baltic Sea
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Annual HELCOM oil spill drills have been organized since the late 1980s
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