Ulsan fishing vessels support safe passage of marine environment survey vessels joining forces with Equinor for Environmental Impact Assessment

  • Ulsan fishermen slated to participate in marine environment surveys and support the safety of vessels participating in the surveys
  • Local fishermen associations already actively engaged with and collaborating for marine environment assessment surveys

(BUSAN / 25 April 2022) Ulsan fishermen are now participating in earnest for the safety of environmental social impact assessment surveys being conducted for the Firefly floating offshore wind farm project.

The fishermen are taking part in the assessment with their vessels to support safe passage for the special vessels dedicated to the survey, identifying abandoned fishing equipment and guiding the survey vessels for maritime transport routes, thereby playing an integral role as an essential partner of the survey.

Public notices were placed in local newspapers in November of last year to recruit such vessels that would enable the active engagement of Ulsan fishermen in the environmental social impact assessment. The vessels were selected through a fair and transparent process based on Equinor’s internal safety policies and criteria to select the appropriate vessels.

The selected vessels for nearshore safety and navigation are required to be at least eight tons in capacity and have equipment for navigation, communication, and safety. These types of vessels are safe enough to operate in the near sea about 60 kilometers off the coast of Ulsan.

Director of Firefly Project Torgeir Nakken, explained, “Equinor has two clear principles in conducting the environmental social impact assessment. First, communicate and align with local fishermen in the area who are the ones most impacted by the offshore wind farm. Second, go beyond meeting South Korea’s EIA standards to abide by international standards.”

Prior to conducting the EIA surveys, Equinor prepared for the assessment by briefing the local fishermen in detail about what the assessment would consist of, the methodology to be applied, as well as its timing and specific areas concerned. Equinor also spent a lot of time contemplating the best way to engage with Ulsan fishermen in playing a major role in the transformation of Ulsan as a global leader in clean energy. This led to the idea of having the fishermen participate in the assessment with their vessels.

The idea was positively received by the fishermen, with growing interest in the opportunity over time. Equinor has recently broadened participation opportunities for fishermen in the environment assessment and announced its third notice of tenders for vessel recruitment. As soon as the as screening process is completed, the company plans to carry out the remaining phases of the assessment with the fishermen.

Meanwhile, Equinor’s environmental and social impact assessment for the Firefly Offshore Wind Project with an anticipated capacity of 800 MW, is applying internationally recognized ESIA methodologies for the first time in offshore wind industry of South Korea. ESIA is the performance standard of the International Finance Corporation under World Bank Group as well as the industry model standard.

This is not the first time for Equinor to apply such strict standards; the company previously applied the same criteria to Hywind Scotland – which was established in 2017 as the world’s first floating offshore wind farm – and to Dogger Bank and all of its offshore wind projects worldwide, including those in the U.S. and the Baltic Sea. 

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