The realities of combating major tanker spills

Whilst the world is much better prepared and equipped to combat major tanker spills than it was 30 years ago, it is still the case that responders are not able to overcome some of the fundamental technical problems. What is more regrettable is the fact that most significant oil spills are not dealt with as effectively as current technology should allow. This is frequently because insufficient account is taken by those in charge of preparedness programmes and response operations of the extensive technical knowledge and experience that is available around the world, especially in terms of the lessons that have been learnt from previous spills.This article reviews some of the recent trends, experiences and developments in the incidence of and response to marine oil spills, drawing on ITOPF’s first-hand experience of some 450 incidents world-wide. The main factors that in combination determine the seriousness of a particular spill are explored, before examining the limitations of the clean-up techniques that are currently available. It is explained that whilst the technical aspects of dealing with an oil spill are clearly important, the effectiveness of the response to a major spill will ultimately depend upon the quality of the contingency plan, and of the organisation and control of the various aspects of the clean-up operation. Ultimately, however, the only true solution to oil spills is preventing them from happening in the first place.


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  • Accession Number: 01609150
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2016 9:14AM