ISCO as Observer at the Eleventh Ordinary Meeting of the RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe Steering Committee

Curacao, 7-8th May, 2024

This biannual meeting ( was held with the presence of ISCO as Observer (Carlos Sagrera – ISCO Latin America Representative – Spanish Speaking) and representatives of Curacao (Minister of Transport Charles Cooper, Ms. Gisette Seferina – Chair Person & Carla Bikker – Director of RAC/REMPEITC & Giselle Hollander – Director Ministry of Transport, Aruba (Eurico Hermans – Director Crisis Management Office & Erwin Henriquez – Deputy Harbor Master), Bonaire (Minguelito Abrahams – Harbor Master), Jamaica (Christopher Corbin – UNEP – Cartagena Convention Secretariat), Nicaragua (COCATRAM – José Dopeso ), Honduras (Laura Rivera – Deputy Director DGMM), Netherlands (Andre Eversdijk – Crisis Manager & Adriann Hamelink – Ing. Teamleader Incident), Trinidad & Tobago (Richmond Basant – Maritime Administrator & Nadia Gour – IMO Consultant), UK (ITOPF – Richard Johnson – Technical Director), IMO (Marine Environment Division Patricia Charlebois – Deputy Director, Carlos Salgado – Head Latin American and Caribbean Section Subdivision for Management and Coordination), US (OSRL – Paul Schuler – Director External Affairs; USCG – LCDR Jason Scott – Artic and International Coordination Division Chief & LT Matthew Martin – IMO Consultant), ARPEL (Miguel Moyano – Senior Managing Director).

C. Salgado (IMO), N. Gour (T&T), LT M. Martin (USCG), LCDT J. Scott (USCG), C. Sagrera, M. Moyano (ARPEL), P. Charlebois (IMO), C. Corbin (UNEP), R. Johnson (ITOPF)
Participants event – Minister of Transportation of Curacao Eng. Charles Cooper & Chair Person Mrs. Gisette Seferina Ministry Enviroment & Carla Bikker (RACREMPEITC)

On the first day ( they showed up the status of the Ongoing Projects, develop ideas for the sustainability of the center, the development of the 2025-2030 Strategic Plan and the immediate 2024-2026 Work Plan. On the second day, presentations of the Case Study of the Spill in Tobago in February 2024 were carried out by authorities from Trinidad & Tobago, Bonaire and the Netherlands (Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard).

Presentations followed from Oilmap (RPS – Eric Comerma), COCATRAM (Activities – José Dopeso), ARPEL (RETOS – Miguel Moyano –,  IPIECA & OSRL, Honduran Maritime Authority (Actions of the Environmental Department – Laura Rivera – DGMM), Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Maritime University’s Center for Blue Economy and the Maritime Technology Cooperation Center Caribbean (MTCC).

Patricia Charlebois set guidelines and the priority objectives of IMO, highlighting the issue of potential risks with new fuels (LPG, LNG, etc.), noting the need not to duplicate efforts in regional organizations and supported the idea of RAC/ REMPEITC to lead Working Groups and thus create synergies and complementarity for the main objectives of the IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC): MEPC 1 – MARPOL I-VI Plastic Litter, Polar Code, and Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs); MEPC 2 – AFS/Biofuling & Ballast Water Management Convention; MEPC 3 – Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention; MEPC 4 – Oil Pollution Prevention, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) Convention and Hazardous Noxious Substances (HNS) Protocol; MEPC 5 – London Protocol & Ocean Governance. Within this framework of the MEPC 4 objective, ISCO made a presentation on the topic: “HNS Management in Mexico and the Region: A Necessary Prioritization” (, managing to include the HNS topic and for the first time in RAC/REMPEITC, activities to be developed in the Working Groups established as the Spanish translation of the Marine HNS Response Manual (Bonn Agreement, Helcom and REMPECT), which will be a notable and necessary contribution for Spanish-speaking Latin America ( Carlos Salgado, for his part, and in his leadership role with the IMO Environment Division in the Caribbean and Latin America, pointed out the progress being made in the IMO objectives within the framework of the assigned regional organization, COCATRAM, in topics such as Port Reception Facilities, as well as indicated the agenda of activities at the ROCRAM level that will be developed in the coming months in the region. 

Tribute to Johannes Kooijman (Master Marine Curacao)
Tribute to Paul Schuler – Iconic figure of Spill Control in the Caribbean and Latin America

About the Tobago spill incident, the role of RAC/REMPEICT was also explained, which provided training to more than 100 volunteers in shoreline cleanup efforts. On the other hand, information was provided on the coordination of RAC/REMPEICT between Trinidad & Tobago and the potentially affected neighboring territories: Grenada, Barbados, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Bonaire. It must be taken into account that the oil spill moved more than 400 miles from its origin in Tobago and passed off the coast of Venezuela, with which Bonaire indicated some type of exchange took place, although without specific details. Nor was the issue of responsibilities developed, which was carried out by the investigation of the affected country, nor was there any discussion about the sunken ship that caused the spill and the tugboat that changed Flag State on the date of the spill, those that departed from Panama and that had as final destination Guyana, with a cargo of fuel oil in Venezuela, before its incident off the coast of Tobago ( . ISCO Newsletters N° 924 – 925  – 926 (February 2024); ISCO Newsletters N° 927 – 928 – 929 (March 2024). 

This case alone justifies the existence of RAC/REMPEICT and the greater role it can play in this type of incidents in the region. Once responsibilities have been determined, it would be interesting to generate an objective report on this Case Study that would be available to all countries in the region.

Finally, and at the end of the event, two emotional events were held and two emblematic figures in the region were honored, who are entering a well-deserved retirement after exemplary years of activities in support of the RAC/REMPEITC activities in the case of the Master Mariner Johannes Kooijman (Netherlands Shipmaster’s Association), iconic figure in Curacao, and in the case of Paul Schuler (CCA-OSRL) also for that reason and for his paradigmatic role for more than 30 years in oil spill control issues in the region. 

The Final Recommendations can be found on the RAC/REMPEITC website dedicated to the event:

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