Despite the current unprecedented situation due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the management team at Sohar Port and Freezone affirms that business continues to operate as usual, while implementing the highest preventive measures at SOHAR facilities in line with directives of the Supreme Committee. SOHAR entered into an agreement with Unity Fire & Safety Services LLC, an Omani company, for the management of the Sohar Emergency Response Organisation (SERO). The signing took place on Tuesday between Mark Geilenkirchen CEO of SOHAR Port, representing SOHAR and Kevan Whitehead, Managing Director of Unity Fire and Safety Services LLC.
Commenting on the new partnership, Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port said, “At SOHAR, we believe that ensuring high standards of safety, which also includes the presence of a well-prepared Emergency Response is vital for our business continuity. The agreement will help to minimise the financial, reputational, environmental and human safety impacts of any incidents that might occur. We have identified the need to strengthen the Emergency Response system and align it better with the area risk profile. Therefore, for several years we have been preparing the establishment of a specialised Sohar Emergency Response Organisation (SERO), which will become the collective first responder for all incidents within the Port area, while simultaneously working in a formal, well-trained Mutual-Aid system with OQ and PACDA in the case of very large incidents.”
From his side, Kevan Whitehead, Managing Director of Unity Fire and Safety Services LLC stated, “As a local Omani company, Unity Fire & Safety Services LLC is extremely proud and delighted to have been chosen to be a part of the management of the Sohar Emergency Response Organisation. We believe through various developments SOHAR will become the best practice model for all Sea Ports within Oman. We envision that SERO will be responsible for the creation of local employment opportunities with a target of around 90% Omanisation, furthermore creating a cost-effective and efficient emergency response organisation for all the tenants and customers at SOHAR Port and Freezone.”
SERO is highly trained and prepared to handle various incidents ranging from building and industrial fires to traffic accidents to medical emergencies and traumas. SERO has several key capabilities and is tasked to provide medical assistance, standard and industrial firefighting, HAZMAT and technical rescue, including rope and confined space rescue. On a 24-hour basis, SERO maintains an emergency response and dispatch centre to handle incident reports and alert ER team members. SERO is tasked with providing assistance anywhere within the port within six minutes of an emergency being reported. An important additional task is to add value for tenants, with services that include fire equipment maintenance and prevention advice.
“We began using the brand SERO in 2018 mainly within the Port industrial community and we aim to continue to brand it in this manner. SERO reflects international best practices while being custom-tailored to fit the local needs and customs of SOHAR port in each and every aspect. To this end, the SERO model was developed in close cooperation with the tenants as well as the Safety Authority Rotterdam, from the Netherlands. Currently, we have several emergency response units operated either by individual tenants or by Public Authority for Civil Defence (PACDA). These teams do not have the guaranteed capacity and skills to fight the industrial incident scenarios that can happen throughout the area. With the introduction of a centralised SERO, Emergency Response can be set up more efficiently to be able to handle larger incident scenarios effectively,” Mark added.