Mitigating the effects of emergencies in Baltic Sea Region ports

March 2016 -
April 2019


Policy area:
3. Transport 3.1 Interoperability


The Interreg project HAZARD made firefighters, coastguards, policemen and others involved in rescue operations in ports around the Baltic Sea more fit to save people and goods when accidents happen: Large scale exercises helped sea port authorities and rescue services to improve their structures and procedures to be better prepared for the next accident to come.

The challenge

Accidents at seaports that endanger people are becoming more likely

Seaports, terminals and facilities to store shipped goods, including those for dangerous goods, are often located close to residential areas. Therefore, a large number of people is put at risk when accidents happen in ports. Vessel traffic in the Baltic Sea region is high and can be expected to increase in the future. Thus, the risk for more accidents also increases, unless the safety and security procedures are improved. Therefore, the EU’s vision is that the Baltic Sea should become a leading region in maritime safety and security. In this context, HAZARD is a flagship of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

Rescue services that exchange beyond borders are better prepared

In case of emergency, different rescue services usually take action, e.g. fire fighters, coast guards and police, but also civil organisations such as the red cross or environmental NGOs might be involved. The set-up and the procedures at sea ports in the countries around the Baltic Sea differ. It is obvious that damages and losses of life can be minimised if the rescue services are well prepared and have set up optimal procedures for cooperating with each other and for communicating with citizens. Joint exercises, evaluations and cooperation across countries can help rescue services from all countries to mitigate the effects of accidents better.


Accidents practiced in near-real life circumstances

In the HAZARD project, sea port authorities together with their rescue services in charge organised ten large scale international exercises in the ports of Klaipeda (Lithuania), Hamburg (Germany) and the Finnish ports of Turku, Naantali and Kuopio. Up to 350 local rescue staff practiced in each port a different emergency situation such as fire on a passenger ship in the port, the leaking of a hazardous substance from a tanker, and an explosion of a chemical tank.

Knowledge compiled for better risk assessment and better communication & regulation

The exercises, which often lasted several days, were observed by international researchers and rescue service peers from partner regions to evaluate the cooperation structures, rescue procedures, and communication abilities and in order to facilitate learning from each other. Taking into account the knowledge gained in joint exercises, rescue services, seaports and academia, among other things, jointly developed a toolbox to assess risks in sea ports, a report on communication and regulatory challenges in safety and security of sea ports and a foresight study about the development of transport and logistics by 2030.

Instant improvements in ports & rescue services

Through this cooperation and sharing of experience several ports instantly introduced new measures. The Port Authority of Naantali (Finland) updated its crisis management procedures. The Fire and Rescue Department of Lithuania developed a standard evaluation procedure for exercises. And Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (Germany) improved their IT solution for the emergency response plan. The results of HAZARD are spread further within the project platform RESQU2. By strengthening their collaboration, the Interreg project HAZARD helped rescue authorities to be more effective in the event of an accident in a Baltic Sea port - for the sake of EU citizens’ and companies’ safety and with EUR 3.25 million support from the European Union.

Project Stories


€ 4.18
€ 3.25
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00



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Project manager

University of Turku

Jarmo Malmsten

+358 2 333 9639

Legal representative

University of Turku

Juuso Töyli

+358 2 333 9248

Financial manager

University of Turku

Sari Tähtinen

358 401 768 710

Communication manager

University of Turku

Mariikka Whiteman

358 40 779 9490