ARCSAR Newsletter: volume 5

Arctic Security and Emergency Preparedness Network

ARCSAR Newsletter: volume 5

29.3.2021 News 0

Dealing with the pandemic: All events of 2021 to take place virtually!

The ARCSAR project had to adopt several of the activities in order to ensure that set objectives and tasks are accomplished during the pandemic restrictions. One obvious challenge has been to conduct events and meetings. A main part of the ARCSAR project is to maintain a large network of practitioners in this region, thus it requires some activity and forums where the partners can meet. A lot of effort in this period has focused on solutions for platforms and meetings where ARCSAR could still maintain this network through virtual solutions.

One of the major deliverables and events of the project is the live catastrophic exercise originally planned to be arranged in May 2021. This had to be postponed for a year, until August 2022. The original plans had to be cancelled and measures to reduce the cost due to the postponement were needed.

The project and the coordination team has kept close dialogue with the WP-leaders, both on the progress of the deliverables, but also on the project progress itself in this period. We have had regular online meetings to discuss the work plan and how to deal with the delays and the challenges with hosting events in the network. Together, the project management board (WP-leaders) decided to arrange all events in 2021 as virtual events.

Upcoming events

There are three main open events to be hosted in 2021:

The Innovation and Knowledge Exchange Event 3, Dissemination Workshop, and the third ARCSAR Table Top Exercise. The first two events will be hosted together as one event in May 2021, and the Table Top Exercise will be hosted in October 2021.

Follow our website and social media to stay updated regarding upcoming events. https://arcsar.eu/events

SAR Table-Top Exercise held on December 2020

The Arctic SAR TTX, called the fifth Joint Arctic SAR TTX, was hosted by the ARCSAR network, with close cooperation by the member organisations from ARCSAR partner, AECO. This event was originally planned to be hosted in Reykjavik, April 2020, but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

There was a working group with the ARCSAR partners AECO, LAUREA, JRCC NN and JRCC I, that planned this event as a fully online version. The exercise was very successful, and close to 130 participants from across the world, attended the event. Among the participants, there were 26 AECO members and SAR entities from Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Svalbard, mainland Norway, USA, Finland, UK, and New Zealand. Many of the other ARCSAR partners participated in facilitating the TTX, in roles of moderators, note-takers and players. This also gave the ARCSAR project an opportunity to collect data for the project’s deliverables including finding evidence on uptake of innovations.

The participants were invited to play out a scenario, in which an expedition cruise vessel temporarily loses steering and grounds on a submerged shelf in a remote part of the Arctic. As the scenario progressed, the players were challenged to evacuate the unstable ship and establish a beach camp on shore. The 175 passengers and 120 crew and staff were to be kept safe while awaiting rescue, initially by an expedition cruise vessel and eventually by professional search and rescue (SAR) responders. The participants were asked to consider procedures and means of communication, collaboration and coordination, abandon ship procedures, crowd management techniques, efficient use of equipment, survival strategies, camp layout, and much more. Groups consisting of SAR responders, rescue coordination centre staff, ship officers, expedition staff, and the cruise operator home office collaborated to determine the challenges, constraints and opportunities involved. The academic audience was invited in the exercise as observers.

According to AECO Executive Director, Frigg Jørgensen, this annual SAR TTX event allows the participants to learn from each other and explore opportunities for improvement.

The cruise industry already has robust safety protocols in place and is aware of the industry’s responsibility for preparedness. This event makes it possible to further develop and enhance equipment, training and Standing Operating Procedures, Says Jørgensen.

Captain Auðunn Friðrik Kristinsson, Director of Maritime Operations at the Icelandic Coast Guard, says that the exercise is an opportunity to both practice and to gain valuable insight:

This event helps the different sectors involved in a rescue operation understand the procedures, capabilities and perspectives of the other parties. It also allows the professionals working in the field to get to know the actual people that they will be dealing with in the case of a real incident. This can be very beneficial and contributes to better communication and a more efficient response, says Capt. Kristinsson.

One of the important success factors for this event was all the work put into planning the event, with a very high focus on the details. The technical frame with Zoom, possibility to migrate between different break-out rooms, mapping all participants to set up functional groups beforehand, templates and instructions for moderators and note-takers and minute-by-minute script for the scenario was some of the efforts made to ensure a smooth execution of the event.

A comprehensive evaluation report is under work, and will be published end of March 2021.

ARCSAR Innovation Arena updates

The ARCSAR Innovation Arena is currently being migrated to a new version of the platform, with more advanced security upgrades, better compliance with the GDPR and numerous functionality upgrades. This work had been ongoing since January 2021. We will keep you updated once the new platform is online via social media and website news. Also this can be checked by visiting the ARCSAR I.A. at https://arcsar-innovation.eu.

Draft version of the updated Innovation Arena

Be part of the innovation on our social media!

During the pandemic, ARCSAR has launched monthly topical posts based on the prioritized gaps and needs in the project as an effort to maximize the outreach during the pandemic and produce more content for our followers in the social media.

Every month our followers will get to read about a gap or need and be able to engage in discussions. Similarly all these gaps and needs can be found from the ARCSAR Innovation Arena following this link: https://arcsar-innovation.eu .

One of several gaps/needs posted in ARCSAR Network’s social media