Emergency Response

Information on emergency response in Greenland.

The Mineral Licence and Safety Authority (MLSA) under the Greenland Self-Government is responsible for safety and security of the mineral resource activities in Greenland and Greenland waters within the mandate set by the Government of Greenland in the Mineral Resources Act.


It is a regulatory requirement in the Mineral Resources Act §80, that:

“The Greenland Government will set up an emergency committee with the task of coordinating the action of the authorities in the case of accidents and emergencies, including war, on offshore facilities. The members of the emergency committee will supervise the measures taken by those responsible for offshore facilities and will coordinate the authorities' preventive, life-saving and control measures”.


MLSA-regulated companies have the primary responsibility for ensuring safety and environmental protection because they are the owners, designers, builders and operators of the facilities. The MLSA recognizes this responsibility in the ongoing development of goal-oriented regulation that places the onus on companies to ensure their facilities are safe and secure and are operated in an environmentally responsible manner. The MLSA plays a significant role by ensuring that the companies maintain or improve their safety and environmental performance. The MLSA ensures that the companies:

  • Identify and manage the potential hazards associated with their facilities and operations;
  • Conduct a risk analysis of those hazards; and
  • Eliminate, reduce and manage the risks in order to protect the public and regulated company personnel and the environment, the safety and security of the facilities and the protection of property.

Emergency response and preparedness program

All companies under the MLSA’s jurisdiction are responsible for developing and maintaining an Emergency Response and Preparedness Program generically referred to as “Emergency Management Program” for all aspects of their operations. In the event that an emergency occurs, the regulated company is responsible for responding to the emergency and coordinating the emergency response activities. In the event that an emergency occurs, the MLSA’s Contingency Committee is responsible for coordinating the authorities’ response.

MLSA response to incidents/emergencies

The MLSA is the lead regulatory agency in emergency situations that occurs on MLSA-regulated facilities or operations and the Government of Greenland has the option to choose to be the lead investigator for determining the cause and contribution factors leading to an incident/emergency. The MLSA investigates reported incidents to determine factors leading to an incident, whether any trends are evident, and what action is necessary to prevent similar occurrences in the future. In general the MLSA will respond on site to incidents:

  • That results in death or serious injury;
  • Involve a significant release of hydrocarbons;
  • Could result in potential or real impact due to loss of service;
  • Pose imminent threats to the public, the workers and the environment
  • Attract significant media attention, or
  • On the advice of a Greenlandic or Danish Ministry

Emergency management programme for hydrocarbon activities

The MLSA has developed an Emergency Management Programme for Hydrocarbon Activities in Greenland with the purpose of being able to:

  • Establish a prompt and coordinated response to an incident or emergency which occurs at any facility or operation regulated by the BMP
  • Promote safety and security and assure compliance with regulatory requirements in order to protect the public, the workers, the environment and property during the life cycle of facilities and operations; and
  • Have a documented set of procedures that accomplish these objectives.