SOLFIRE is a contingency plan developed to deal with any marine emergency or non-routine incident occurring within the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth, the Port of Southampton Provision and the wider Solent Coastguard co-ordination area. This area will be referred to as the SOLFIRE command area.
This emergency plan has been produced jointly by the Harbour Authorities of Southampton and Portsmouth, in consultation and agreement with Maritime and Coastguard Agency (South of England) other emergency services and relevant local authorities.
This plan is a voluntary scheme intended to provide the command, control and communications structure to draw together and co-ordinate adequate resources to deal with any marine emergency occurring within the Solfire Command Area. It is to be supplemented by other contingency and action plans held by the emergency services, local authorities, commercial facilities and marine related companies which will be activated as necessary.
Nothing in this plan shall relieve any person or organization from any statutory obligation or responsibility
The response provided by Solfire will be graded according to defined classifications of marine emergency or incident The initial response will be graded primarily by the level of resources required to deal with the incident and by its probable impact on land based authorities. The incident may be upgraded/downgraded at any time by the Initiating Authority or the emergency services as is deemed appropriate or as the circumstance dictate.
In most circumstances the Initiating Authority will be defined by the geographical location of the emergency or incident. Note Each Initiating Authority has a 24-hour operations room linked by direct communications.
In the event of a marine emergency or non-routine incident occurring the Initiating Authority, represented by their Duty Officer, will activate Solfire by giving an initial classification and initiating the activation
When SOLFIRE is activated, the priorities are:
i. Saving of Life.
ii. Minimizing risk to the environment.
iii. Safety of Navigation.
The full Solfire plan can be downloaded below.
The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co Operation Convention) Regulations 1998, amongst other things, made it a requirement for Port Authorities to plan and make preparations to reduce the damaged caused by oil pollution incidents.
The response is divided up into a three tiered approach as follows:
The main Oil Pollution Plan for Portsmouth Harbour is controlled and administered by the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth, through the offices of the Queen's Harbour Master.
Portsmouth International Port will deal with Tier 1 spills for its area of responsibility, namely:
All other areas in the Harbour will be dealt with by the Dockyard Port.
Each commercial berth operator has its own local emergency plan as follows:
The main purpose of each plan is to set up the command and control systems and actions required for dealing with emergencies on the individuals site. The plans contain amongst other things, site maps, call out contact details, emergency contact details, procedures for dealing with the emergency, check lists and evacuation plans.
Copies of the plans are kept at Portsmouth International Port for the above areas.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a registered charity which exists to save lives at sea. It provides a 24-hour on call service to cover search and rescue requirements to 50 miles out from the coast of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The Solent has several RNLI lifeboat stations as follows:
Full details are avalable on the RNLI's website.