To manage the risks for people, the environment and the port activities as effectively as possible and to be prepared for the worst, Port of Antwerp-Bruges works closely with the competent authorities and emergency services. In addition to internal emergency plans, two types of emergency and intervention plans (NIP in Dutch) apply in the port area: general emergency intervention plans (ANIP in Dutch) and special emergency intervention plans (BNIP in Dutch).
There are various risks in a port. For example, a ship that gets into difficulties or the transport of hazardous goods.To manage the risks for people, the environment and the port activities as effectively as possible and to be prepared for the worst, Port of Antwerp-Bruges works closely with the competent authorities and emergency services.
General Emergency and Intervention Plans (ANIP)
The municipal and provincial plans are the general emergency and intervention plans: they provide procedures to deal with any emergency. In every municipality, the basis of disaster planning is the Emergency and Intervention Plan (NIP in Dutch) together with the Vademecum Organisation Rapid Rescue (OSR in Dutch) and the Medical Intervention Plan (MIP).
In the disaster planning, the government uses the concept of 'phases' to show the nature and severity of the disaster and the relevant policy structures. In this regard, a distinction is made between:
- Operational coordination at municipal level: The term 'Local Coordination' is used in the city of Antwerp. The fire officer announces this phase. In this phase, a CP/OPS - operational coordination - is triggered which, if necessary, also takes care of policy coordination.
- Municipal level: The mayor announces these phases on the advice of the fire officer. The impact is geographically limited to the municipality or city. The mayor has overall leadership and all municipal resources at his or her disposal. He/she can still call on reinforcement. Every municipality within the port area has an ANIP.
- Provincial level: The Governor has competence for this phase. The crisis situation transcends the municipal level on account of the severity of the situation or the geographical extent. The provincial disaster plan organises the resources.
- Federal level: The Minister of the Interior is responsible for large-scale disasters that cross provincial borders.
Together with the competent emergency services, we regularly organise the necessary and compulsory emergency exercises to test the various procedures in the ANIP and BNIP.
Special Emergency and Intervention Plans (BNIP)
Besides the ANIP, specific measures have been developed for special risks, such as major accidents on pipelines, in Seveso companies or nuclear installations, aircraft or rail accidents or accidents on the Scheldt.
Accident response on the Scheldt is integrated into the existing disaster planning of the provinces of Antwerp and East Flanders.
For the province of Antwerp, the plan is an addition to the NIP of the city of Antwerp and the municipality of Zwijndrecht. It concerns the specific measures that are taken when a major accident threatens or occurs on the Lower-Scheldt.
These measures are applicable in every level of the NIP. When such a situation arises, the Waterway Police, in consultation with the appropriate fire officer, will propose the municipal or provincial phase to the mayor or governor respectively.
In the Province of East Flanders, the General Provincial Disaster Plan for Emergency Assistance forms the basis of disaster planning. This plan is designed for all emergency situations, regardless of the type of disaster.
Special cases include:
- Companies covered by the post-Seveso legislation (so-called RH-SEV);
- A storm tide, flooding or a catastrophic event on the Scheldt, railway accidents, aviation accidents and accidents at the Doel nuclear power plant;
- Approaching and tackling accidents involving toxic substances in general, chlorine, ammonia, liquefied combustible gas or natural gas in high-pressure pipelines in particular, oil spills on waterways, approaching crashed aircraft with hydrazine and/or carbon fibres on board.
Disaster plan for Seveso companies
Disaster plans for tackling the impact of major accidents in Seveso companies are set out in the BNIP. This also applies to companies subject to notification requirements.
When a major incident is imminent or does actually occur, the responsible fire officer will propose the municipal or provincial phase to the mayor or governor respectively. Pending the determination of the correct perimeters, the emergency and police services apply the largest perimeter.
Seveso firms are firms producing, processing, handling or storing hazardous substances. For example refineries, petrochemical enterprises, chemical plants, petroleum depots or storage sites for explosive substances.
Read more about Seveso companies on the website of the national crisis centre.
Handling of hazardous goods
All companies which receive or have hazardous goods on their premises in the port area, or where seagoing and/or inland navigation craft with hazardous goods on board are moored, must have an internal emergency plan. These regulations are included in the Hazardous Goods Code under the general rules for handling hazardous and/or polluting goods.