GEMSA Petroleum Co. was preparing for piling operations to drive conductor pipe for drilling a new well in the offshore of Gulf of Suez, Zaafarana Field (5.5 Km from the shore).
As part of this project, Environics was commissioned to monitor marine mammals from the rig before and during the piling activities and provide mitigation impacts on marine mammals, if present, by requesting shutdown of the noise sources in accordance with the Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP).
The main objectives of Marine Mammals Observation were to:
Spot sensitive marine mammals species before and during the piling operations.
Mitigate impacts on marine mammals by monitoring the presence of these species and requesting shut-down of the hammer if necessary when marine mammals were seen within specified safety zones representing distances close enough to potentially cause physical injury.
The observation was performed by one MMO and was only during the daylight. It was based on a full view of the exclusion zone from helideck on the rig (22m. height above the sea level) to provide the largest visual scale.
Initial visual scanning with the naked eye was the main tool for observation with occasional scans by using binoculars.
Four forms have been filled as follows:
(1) Cover page – contains general information about the survey
(2) Operations– contains details of the use of the source of noise
(3) Effort – contains details of watches for marine mammals
(4) Sightings– contains details of sightings detections
Monitoring results and recommendations were provided in the observation report.
Moreover, a presentation was given to the staff onboard on the importance of Marine Mammals, Marine Mammals Observation, mitigation measures and BMP.