Sunday, 29 July 2012

Enbridge oil....

I am posting this, not becasue it will do any good, it won't. I don't matter. My voice doesn't matter.

But, after another broken bit of the Enbridge pipeline on Friday.....I so wish that I could find a way to bring it to an end.

There are two major environmental issues at play. The one that is getting all of the currant attention is a pipeline spill. The other, is the potential of a ship spilling it's cargo of oil.

I dislike Enbridge.  I don't trust Enbridge. They are NOT there for the people, they are there to make money for their shareholders. The federal government of Canada has made it clear that they too are all about the Enbridge pipeline. Bastards.'s my take on this...A pipeline is inevitable. And I do understand the need to move the bitumen. I am not so much about NO pipeline, I am about no pipeline at any cost. And for the proposed routing of the Enbridge line...GIVE YOUR FUCKING HEADS A SHAKE.

If the CEO of Enbridge..and this means whomever is CEO at the time of 'our' spill or the CEO of whatever shipping company has the charter and also the CEO of the company that owns the ship, agree to Seppuku..that they will take their own lives or forfeit them if they are unable to actually do the cut...then hell, yeah...go ahead with your pipeline and shipping from Kitimat.

Here is one of my solutions to the problem.


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Illustration from "Sketches of Japanese Manners and Customs", by J. M. W. Silver, Illustrated by Native Drawings, Reproduced in Facsimile by Means of Chromolithography, published in London in 1867.

Seppuku with ritual attire and second (staged)

Warrior about to perform seppuku
Seppuku (切腹?, "stomach-cutting") is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies (and likely suffer torture), or as a form of capital punishment for samurai who had committed serious offenses, or performed for other reasons that had brought shame to them. The ceremonial disembowelment, which is usually part of a more elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators, consists of plunging a short blade, traditionally a tantō, into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion.[1]

The History of Oil Pipeline Spills in Alberta, 2006-2012

by Contributor on June 12, 2012

May 2012 clean-up of oil spill near Rainbow Lake, Alberta
By Sean Kheraj
Late Thursday evening on June 7, 2012, the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group, a not-for-profit society, notified Plains Midstream Canada of a major oil pipeline failure near Sundre, Alberta that spilled an early estimate of between 1,000 and 3,000 barrels of light sour crude oil (~159-477 cubic metres) into Jackson Creek, a tributary of the Red Deer River. The river is one of the province’s most important waterways, providing drinking water for thousands of Albertans.
This recent spill occurred just weeks after another oil pipeline burst in Alberta in late May, spilling an estimated 22,000 barrels of oil and water (~3,497 cubic metres) across 4.3 hectares of muskeg in the northwest part of the province near Rainbow Lake. According to the Globe and Mail, this rupture, which occurred along a pipeline operated by Pace Oil & Gas, Ltd., “ranks among the largest in North America in recent years,” and certainly in the province of Alberta. A couple of weeks after the accident, the company downgraded the estimate to 5,000 barrels of sweet crude oil with no water (~795 cubic metres).
These recent spills are considerably smaller in volume of liquid hydrocarbons released than last year’s 28,000 barrel (~4,452 cubic metres) spill on the Rainbow pipeline operated by Plains Midstream Canada near Little Buffalo, Alberta. While the 2011 Plains Midstream oil pipeline rupture may have been the largest single spill event in recent memory, the entire oil pipeline network in Alberta has spilled nearly equivalent volumes of liquid hydrocarbons every year since 2005.
As my brief history of oil pipeline spills in Alberta from 1970 to 2005 demonstrated, the problem of pipeline ruptures is endemic to the industry. Now with over 399,000 kilometres of pipelines under the authority of the province’s Energy Resources Conservation Board, industry specialists and regulators not only know that this system has never been free from oil spills, but that a spill-free system is an impossible goal. The recent history of pipeline ruptures in Alberta since 2006 further underlines these realities.
At 1:46am on October 10, 2006, the Rainbow Pipe Line Company became aware of a crude oil spill on its pipeline 20 kilometres southeast of Slave Lake. Roughly 7,924 barrels of oil (~1,260 cubic metres) poured into a series of ponds near the northern Alberta town, despoiling wildlife habitat on what one local news outlet ironically referred to as “Black Tuesday.” Darin Barter from the Alberta Energy Utilities Board tried to reassure Albertans that the incident was anomalous. According to the CBC, Barter “said it is rare for pipelines to fail in Alberta.” The EUB press release also stressed this point, insisting that “[p]ipeline failures in Alberta are rare.”

2008 oil slick on Glennifer Lake
The alleged rarity of such oil pipeline spills was probably of little solace to the residents and tourists who enjoyed the recreational benefits of life on Glennifer Lake. In mid-June 2008, Pembina Pipeline Corporation accidentally leaked 177 barrels of oil (28.1 cubic metres) into the Red Deer River, eventually resulting in a large oil slick on the surface of Glennifer Lake. While the volume of the spill was considerably smaller than the 2006 Rainbow Pipeline spill, the location of the rupture in a river and lake made this incident more threatening to human lives. As Pembina’s district superintendent Sandy Buchan told the Red Deer Advocate, “Anytime you are putting oil into the river and you are affecting people’s drinking water, you need to take it very seriously.” Pembina instructed local resorts on Glennifer Lake to turn off their drinking water intakes to avoid human consumption of the contaminated water. From June 18 to 27, the company trucked in drinking water to service the community throughout the course of the emergency until the David Thompson Health Region declared the water safe for drinking again. The day after Pembina discovered the oil spill, the Energy Resources Conservation Board once again tried to reassure Albertans about the infrequency of pipeline failures in the province and issued a press release which emphasized that the rate of pipeline ruptures “was at a record low 2.1 failures per 1000km of pipeline in 2007.” This measurement of pipeline failure rate, however, is somewhat misleading in terms of the environmental impact of oil pipeline spills.
The ERCB has used the ratio of the number of pipeline failure incidents to the total length of the province’s pipeline network as a metric to illustrate the safety of the system. For example, in its 2011 field surveillance and operations summary, the ECRB boasts that the failure rate “was 1.6 per 1000km in 2010.” Furthermore, of the 1,174 liquid pipeline releases in 2010, 94 per cent “had no impact on the public.” The trouble, of course, is that this measurement of pipeline failure rate and vague description of “impact on the public” does not adequately convey the environmental risks of large oil pipeline networks. The environmental impact of oil pipeline spills is obscured under this rubric.
The ratio of number of pipeline failures to the total length of the network disguises three important measurements of the environmental impact of oil spills: volume, product type, and location. While the rate of individual pipeline ruptures has declined in Alberta since 2006, this rate includes all substances, including water, and does not convey the volume of individual spills. When considered by product type, between 2006-2010 there have been 109 failures on crude oil pipelines and 1,538 failures on multi-phase pipelines, which carry a combination of crude oil and gas. By volume, the quantity of liquid hydrocarbon spills on Alberta’s pipeline network is staggering. From 2006-2010, the pipeline network leaked roughly 174,213 barrels of oil (~27,700 cubic metres). In 2010 alone, more than 21,000 barrels (~3,400 cubic metres) were spilled across the network, nearly the equivalent of the most recent oil spill near Rainbow Lake.
As the 2008 pipeline failure on the Red Deer River and Glennifer Lake demonstrated, when it comes to the environmental impact of oil spills, it is all about location. Even a relatively small spill in a critical body of water can have enormously detrimental effects on people and wildlife. The cost of cleaning such spills can also vary greatly by location. Unfortunately, the ECRB data from the field surveillance and operations summaries do not include geographic data to assess environmental effects of oil pipeline spills.
To keep track of the recent historical geography of oil pipeline spills in Alberta, I have created the following map below. The map includes rough geographic data about major oil pipeline spills in Alberta from 2006 to 2012. The spatial distribution of these major oil pipeline spills reveals, perhaps, why these events so quickly fade from public discourse and popular memory. All but two of the substantial oil spills since 2006 occurred north of Edmonton, away from the province’s major urban centres. As such, most ordinary Albertans have never personally witnessed the environmental consequences of these pipeline failures. The relatively small leak of crude oil into the Red Deer River in 2008 drew a lot of public and news media attention because of its proximity to the city of Red Deer and a popular tourist destination. Similarly, the most recent spill on Jackson Creek is likely to draw considerable attention. Had the May 2012 Pace Oil & Gas spill in northwest Alberta near Rainbow Lake occurred to the south in a more populous (and popular) location, such as Banff National Park, it almost certainly would have attracted greater national media attention. The geography of oil pipeline spills then has political consequences that must also be considered when assessing extension of the pipeline network.
A more accurate measurement of the environmental impact of oil pipeline spills should include information about volume, product type, and location. Only then can Canadians understand the environmental history of oil pipelines and reasonably assess future plans to expand the network.
Please let me know in the comments if I have missed any major spills on the map below.

Tanker Spills Show Declining Trend

15/02/2012  Spill International Tanker statistics
Hand in hand with this, the total volume of oil spilled in 2011 was also the lowest on record and, at approximately 1,000 tonnes, represents an infinitesimally small percentage of the volume of oil moved by sea. This combination of record lows is especially encouraging given the ever increasing quantities of oil transported by sea.
ITOPF maintains a database of oil spills from tankers, combined carriers and barges. This contains information on accidental spillages since 1970, except those resulting from acts of war. The data held includes the type of oil spilt, the spill amount, the cause and location of the incident and the vessel involved. For historical reasons, spills are generally categorised by size, small (<7 tonnes or <50 bbls), medium (7-700 tonnes or 50-5,000 bbls) and large (>700 tonnes or >5,000 bbls), although the actual amount spilt is also recorded. Information is now held on nearly 10,000 incidents, the vast majority of which (81%) falls into the smallest category i.e. <7 tonnes.
This year, analysis of the causes of large spills since 1970 has allowed a more detailed breakdown of vessel operations taking place at the time of the incident. This analysis has revealed that 50% of large spills occurred while the vessel was underway in open water with allisions, collisions and groundings accounting for just over half of these. These same causes accounted for some 95% of incidents when the vessel was underway in inland or restricted waters.
Further details on the number and quantity of spills from tanker accidents since 1970, together with figures and tables are available on the statistics page of ITOPF's website.

Case Histories

 Here are some clips of major spills since 1967

Below are some of the worlds largest oil tanker spills since 1967 with the Torrey Canyon.
For offshore petroluem industry accidents see
Other spills caused by wars or incompetency are covered in the Contraversial spills section.
Click wikipedia logo right this is a reverse-chronological list of oil spills that have occurred throughout the world and spill(s) that are currently ongoing.

Citation: The Largest Oil Spills in History, 1901 to Present,, viewed 10th March, 2012,
Put cursor on black disc to see spill description.

Selected major marine oil spills (Table from ITOPF)

Shipname Year Location Spill m3
Atlantic Empress 1979 off Tobago, West Indies 287,000
ABT Summer 1991 700 nautical. miles off Angola 260,000
Castillo de Bellver 1983 off Saldanha Bay, South Africa 252,000
Amoco Cadiz 1978 off Brittany, France 223,000
Haven 1991 Genoa, Italy 144,000
Odyssey 1988 700 nautical. miles off Nova Scotia, Canada 132,000
Torrey Canyon 1967 Scilly Isles, UK 119,000
Sea Star 1972 Gulf of Oman 115,000
Irenes Serenade 1980 Navarino Bay, Greece 100,000
Urquiola 1976 La Coruna, Spain 100,000
Hawaiian Patriot 1977 300 nautical. miles off Honolulu 95,000
Independenta 1979 Bosphorus, Turkey 95,000
Jakob Maersk 1975 Oporto, Portugal 88,000
Braer 1993 Shetland Islands, UK 85,000
Khark 5 1989 120 nautical. miles off Atlantic coast of Morocco 80,000
Prestige 2002 Off the Spanish coast 77,000
Aegean Sea 1992 La Coruna, Spain 74,000
Sea Empress 1996 Milford Haven, UK 72,000
Katina P. 1992 off Maputo, Mozambique 72,000
Exxon Valdez 1989 Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA 37,000
Note: Exxon Valdez is not as here the 20th worst marine tanker oil spill it is at this time the 37th. There have been well blow outs,  pipeline and terminal spills of far greater quantities as can be seen in the Contraversial Spills section.

In the aftermath of large oil spill incidents, national and international conventions are updated of created along with increases in compensation funds.

Below are some of the worlds largest oil spills from tankers;
pdf Biological Impacts of the Jessica Oil Spill on the Galápagos Environment (Charles Darwin Foundation)
For the most upto date list of oil spills since the Torry Canyon go to
Some major spill costs involving the funds (IOPC) Millions US$

Antonio Gramsci (Sweden) 1979 US$ 18
Tanio (France) 1980 US$ 36
Haven (Italy) 1991 US$ 58
Agean Sea 1992 (Spain) US$ 65
Braer 1993 (UK) US$ 87

Keumdong No5 1993 (Republic of Korea) US$ 21
Sea Prince 1995 (Republic of Korea) US$ 40
Yull No1 1995
(Republic of Korea) US$ 30
Sea Empress 1996 (UK) US$ 60
Nissos Amorgos 1997 (Venezuela) 1997 US$ 21
Osung No3 1997
(Republic of Korea) US$ 16
Erika (France) 1999 US$ 145 (so far)
Prestige (Spain, France and Portugal) 2002 US$ 154 (so far)

The international compensation regime of the 1992 Conventions has paid victims of 135 incidents US$ 1060 millions over 28 years.

TORREY CANYON (United Kingdom, 1967)

TORREY CANYON ran aground on Pollard Rock on the Seven Stones Reef, near Lands End, Cornwall on 18 March 1967. Thousands of tonnes of oil were soon spilling from the stricken vessel's ruptured tanks and during the next 12 days the entire cargo of approximately 119,000 tonnes of Kuwait crude oil was lost.
A wide variety of methods to mitigate the spill were tried. Burning the slick proved unsuccessful, and eventually the British Government gave orders for TORREY CANYON to be destroyed by aerial bombardment in the hope that all the oil still remaining on board would be burnt off. This operation was partially successful, but did not prevent escaping oil from polluting many parts of the south west of England, causing the deaths of thousands of seabirds and threatening the livelihoods of many local people in the forthcoming summer tourist season. Later the drifting oil polluted beaches and harbours in the Channel Islands and Brittany.
A distinguishing feature of the TORREY CANYON response operation was the excessive and indiscriminate use of early dispersants and solvent based cleaning agents, which caused considerable environmental damage. The dispersants were generally successful at their task of reducing the amount of oil arriving ashore and subsequently expediting onshore cleanup operations, but they were considerably more toxic than those used today and were applied in far greater concentrations, often being poured undiluted on slicks and beaches. Many of the detrimental impacts of the spill were later related to the high volume, high concentration and high toxicity of the dispersant and detergents used.
The TORREY CANYON was the first major tanker disaster to be brought to the notice of the general public due to enormous media coverage, and drew universal attention to the dangers of dispersants. The spill triggered the international Conventions, which form the basis for compensation for damage caused by tanker spills, and interim voluntary agreements to bridge the gap before the Conventions entered into force and became widely accepted.

Selected Bibliography

Zuckerman, S. (1967). The Torrey Canyon. Report of the Committee of Scientists on the Scientific and Technological Aspects of the Torrey Canyon Disaster. Departments of State and Official Bodies. Cabinet Office, London, UK
Petrow, R. (1968). The black tide: in the wake of Torrey Canyon. Hodder & Stoughton, London, UK
Southward, E.C.& Southward, A.J. (1978). Recolonization of rocky shores in Cornwall after the use of toxic dispersants to clean up the Torrey Canyon spill. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 35 (5) 682-706


CEDRE - Case History

SEA STAR (Gulf of Oman, 1972)

The South Korean tanker SEA STAR was on voyage from Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil when it collided with the Brazilian tanker HORTA BARBOSA  in the Gulf of Oman, off the Indian Ocean on 19th December 1972, and exploded, killing 12 crew members. Both vessels caught fire but while the HORTA BARBOSA was extinguished within a day, the SEA STAR continued to burn. After a series of explosions, the SEA STAR sank 5 days after the collision.  The incident resulted in the spillage of approximately 115,000 tonnes of crude oil.

Selected Bibliography

Hooke, N. (1997) Maritime casualties, 1963-1996.  2nd edition, LLP Limited, London
Butler, J.N. (1978).  The largest oil spills.  Inconsistencies, information gaps.  Ocean Industry, October 1978, pp.101-112

METULA (Chile, 1974)  METULA grounded in the eastern Strait of Magellan, Chile, on 9 August 1974. About 47,000 tonnes of light Arabian crude oil and 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil are estimated to be have been lost. Large volumes of water-in-oil emulsion were produced in the rough sea conditions and much of this landed on shores of northern Tierra del Fuego. Most of the shores affected were of mixed sand and gravel, but two small estuaries including saltmarshes were also oiled. About 4,000 birds are known to have been killed, including cormorants and penguins.
No cleanup was done because of the remoteness of the area and consequently this remains a distinctive spill site mainly because hard asphalt pavements formed on many shorelines. The long-term fate and effects of heavy oiling have been extensively investigated. One very sheltered marsh received thick deposits of mousse and, 20 years after the spill, these deposits were still visible on the marsh surface, with the mousse quite fresh in appearance beneath a weathered surface skin. Little plant re-colonisation has occurred in the areas with thicker deposits of 4 or more cm, though it is proceeding in more lightly oiled areas. On sand and gravel shores, an asphalt pavement remained in a relatively sheltered area in 1998, but oil deposits had mainly broken up and disappeared from more exposed shores. These remain amongst the longest-term contaminants recorded for an oil spill, even though they have not resulted in significant impacts on fisheries or the biology of coastal waters.

Selected Bibliography

Guzman, L. and Campodonico, I. (1981). Studies after the Metula oil spill in the Straits of Magellan, Chile. In Proceedings of the Petromar '80 Conference, Monaco, 363-376. Graham and Trotman Ltd., London, UK
Owens, E. H., Robson, W. and Humphrey, B. (1987). Observations from a site visit to the Metula spill 12 years after. Spill Technology Newsletter 12, 83-96


ARGO MERCHANT ran aground on Nantucket Shoals, off Massachusetts, USA, on 15 December 1976, and over the next month spilled her entire cargo (28,000 tonnes) of Venezuelan No 6 fuel oil and cutter stock. Storms broke up the tanker after grounding, and attempts to pump the oil into another vessel failed. In-situ burning was attempted on two occasions, but the slick failed to remain alight.
Winds during the spill period were offshore from Massachusetts, and as a result no oil from ARGO MERCHANT ever reached the shoreline and no coastal impact was reported. Hydrocarbon contamination of the bottom sediments was restricted to an area immediately around the wreck, and apparently was short-lived. The bulk of the spill formed large 'pancakes' and sheens on the surface; these were carried offshore over the continental shelf and into the prevailing North Atlantic circulation pattern. The cutter stock, which was mixed with the fuel oil to improve handling, entered the water column. Despite its relatively high potential toxicity, there was little evidence of impact on the marine fauna or phytoplankton. The accident occurred at the time when the fewest potential effects on pelagic organisms would be expected; a period of low productivity in the water column, with few fish eggs and larvae present. Oiled birds were seen near the wreck, and though total mortalities are difficult to evaluate, it was concluded that the spill probably had little effect on the coastal and marine bird populations off the New England coast. The outcome of the ARGO MERCHANT oil spill appears to have been fortunate in several respects: - the winds were almost continuously offshore, preventing the oil from coming on the beaches; the density of the oil was low enough so that it did not sink and contaminate the bottom, and the spill occurred in the winter when the biological activity, productivity, and fishing activities are relatively low.

Selected Bibliography

Winslow, R. (1978). Hard aground: The story of the Argo Merchant oil spill. W.W. Norton & Company Inc, New York, USA
Grose, P.L. & Mattson, J.S. (editors) (1977). The Argo Merchant oil spill: A preliminary scientific report. Govt Print. Off. [for] Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, USA
Center for Ocean Management Studies (1978). In the wake of the Argo Merchant. Proceedings of a Symposium, 11-13 January 1978. University of Rhode Island, USA.

HAWAIIAN PATRIOT (Off Hawaii, 1977 )

On 23rd February 1977, HAWAIIAN PATRIOT (99,443 dwt) fully loaded with 99,000 tonnes of  light Indonesian crude oil, en route from Indonesia to Honolulu, reported a crack in her hull plating during a storm which resulted in a leak of oil from the cargo holds approximately 300 miles west of Hawaii.  Approximately 18,000 tonnes of oil had leaked into the sea and on the following day, the tanker caught fire and exploded.  It burnt fiercely for several hours and sank with the remaining cargo on board.  One crew member died as a result.
The resultant oil slick, which was estimated to contain about 50,000 tonnes of oil was carried westward away from Hawaii by ocean currents and did not result in pollution problems on land.  The slick was kept under surveillance.  No response to the oil spill took place as the oil dissipated naturally.

Selected Bibliography

Hooke, N. (1997) Maritime casualties, 1963-1996.  2nd edition, LLP Limited, London
Butler, J.N. (1978).  The largest oil spills.  Inconsistencies, information gaps.  Ocean Industry, October 1978, pp.101-112

AMOCO CADIZ (France, 1978)

The tanker AMOCO CADIZ ran aground off the coast of Brittany on 16 March 1978 following a steering gear failure. Over a period of two weeks the entire cargo of 223,000 tonnes of light Iranian and Arabian crude oil and 4,000 tonnes of bunker fuel was released into heavy seas. Much of the oil quickly formed a viscous water-in-oil emulsion, increasing the volume of pollutant by up to five times. By the end of April oil and emulsion had contaminated 320km of the Brittany coastline, and had extended as far east as the Channel Islands.
Strong winds and heavy seas prevented an effective offshore recovery operation. All told, less than 3,000 tonnes of dispersants were used. Some chalk was also used as a sinking agent, but with the consequence of transferring part of the problem to the sea bed. The at-sea response did little to reduce shoreline oiling. A wide variety of shore types were affected, including sandy beaches, cobble and shingle shores, rocks, seawalls and jetties, mudflats and saltmarshes. Removal of bulk free oil trapped against the shore using skimmers proved difficult, largely due to problems with seaweed and debris mixed with the oil. Greater success was achieved with vacuum trucks and agricultural vacuum units, although much of the free oil was simply removed by hand by more than 7,000 personnel (mainly military). A considerable portion of the oil that did come ashore eventually became buried in sediments and entrapped in the low energy salt marshes and estuaries.
At the time, the AMOCO CADIZ incident resulted in the largest loss of marine life ever recorded after an oil spill. Two weeks after the accident, millions of dead molluscs, sea urchins and other benthic species washed ashore. Although echinoderm and small crustacean populations almost completely disappeared from some areas, populations of many species had recovered within a year. Diving birds constituted the majority of the nearly 20,000 dead birds that were recovered. Oyster cultivation in the estuaries ("Abers") was seriously affected and an estimated 9,000 tonnes were destroyed because of contamination and to safeguard market confidence. Other shell and fin fisheries as well as seaweed gathering were seriously affected in the short-term, as was tourism. Cleanup activities on rocky shores, such as pressure-washing, as well as trampling and sediment removal on salt marshes caused biological impacts. Whilst rocky shores recovered relatively quickly, the salt marshes took many years. Failure to remove oil from temporary oil collection pits on some soft sediment shorelines before inundation by the incoming tide also resulted in longer-term contamination. Numerous cleanup and impact lessons were learned from the AMOCO CADIZ incident, and it still remains one of the most comprehensively studied oil spills in history.

Selected Bibliography

Bellier, P. and Massart, G. (1979). The Amoco Cadiz oil spill cleanup operations - an overview of the organisation, control and evaluation of the cleanup techniques employed. Proceedings of the 1979 Oil Spill Conference, 141-146. API Publication No. 4308. American Petroleum Institute, Washington, DC, USANOAA (1978). The Amoco Cadiz oil spill: A preliminary scientific report. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental Protection Agency special report, Washington DC, USASpooner, M.F. (editor) (1978). The Amoco Cadiz oil spill. Special edition of Marine Pollution Bulletin 9 (7). Pergamon Press, Oxford and New YorkConan, G., d'Ozouville, L., and Marchand, M. (1978). Amoco Cadiz - preliminary observations of the oil spill impact on the marine environment. One day session, Amoco Cadiz, Brest, France, 7 June 1978. Le Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans, Paris, France


CEDRE - Case History

BETELGEUSE (Ireland, 1979) 
In the early afternoon of January 8, 1979, the tanker Betelgeuse exploded at the offshore pier of the Gulf Oil Terminal at Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay, Ireland. The tanker broke in two and settled in 130 feet of water with 300,000 barrels of oil remaining onboard. The fire burned throughout the day. During the night the fire was extinguished and the stern section sank completely. Approximately 14,720 barrels of oil leaked from the vessel, 3,680 barrels of which impacted the shoreline.
Behavior of Oil
The Mixed Arabian crude oil contained in the vessel had an API gravity of about 36.5, and a viscosity of 23 centistokes at 20 degrees C. The oil that was released from the tanker burned as it leaked until the fire went out late on January 8. On January 9, a slick began to form, and oil impacted the east shore of Bantry Bay and Reenydonagan Point on Whiddy Island. Inspections revealed that 37 barrels of oil per hour was leaking from the wreck. Oil leaked at this rate for a week. On January 12, the oil impacted the north and south shores of Bantry Bay. By the next day the oil had spread as far west as Castle Townbere on the north shore of the bay and League Point on the south shore. Bear Island was also impacted.
Countermeasures and Mitigation
Cleanup operations were organized by the Cork County Council. Operations included the manual removal of oil and the spreading of hay to absorb oil on the shoreline. Suction operations were also conducted on the shore. Booms contained the oil leaking from the tanker. Contained oil was treated with dispersants applied from planes, and was skimmed with a Gulf Oil Company Bay skimmer. Boom was placed across the mouth of the Glengariff Harbour to prevent oil from entering it. Undamaged tanks were lightered using floating hoses running to the shore facilities.
Other Special Interest Issues
Dispersant application began on January 10 off Reenydonagan Point. BP 1100WD was applied from Gulf tugs. The Cork County Council and the Department of Fisheries stopped the shoreline applications that morning when it was discovered that the dispersant were being applied incorrectly. Aerial spraying was done thereafter and only on slicks of fresh oil. The aircraft used was a modified Piper Pawnee crop sprayer capable of 5 spraying sorties per hour due to the nearby location of a suitable landing strip. Application rates were generally around 2 to 3 gallons of BP 1100WD concentrate per acre. A total of about 35 tonnes (approximately 260 barrels) of dispersant was used in a 12-day period. The use of dispersants is believed to have successfully protected the shoreline. The slick prevented fishing in some areas and nets were fouled by sunken oil. The harvesting of shellfish, including periwinkles, scallops and clams was also affected as some catches were rejected by buyers. Oiled seabirds were also found. The bow section of the Betelgeuse was salvaged by L. Smit and Company. On February 21, it was towed to sea by the tug Smit-Lloyd 107. The bow was sunk at 50 40 N, 012 04 W on February 23. Salvage operations continued throughout the year. Part of the midsection was raised on August 30. The rest of the midsection was raised in December. The stern was raised on July 1, 1980. The midsection and the stern were scrapped.
Cross, et al. 1979. The Initial Pollution of Shores in Bantry Bay, Ireland, by Oil from the Tanker Betelgeuse.  Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 10, pp. 104-107. Pergamon Press Ltd. 1979.
Genwest Systems, Inc. communications with ITOPF representatives.
Hooke, N. Modern Shipping Disasters 1963-1987. Lloyds of London Press. 1987.
MMS Worldwide Tanker Spill Database
National Research Council. Using Oil Spill Dispersants on the Sea. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. p.321.
Nichols, J.A. and Parker, H. 1985. Dispersants: Comparison of Laboratory Tests & Field Trials with Practical Experience at Spills.
Oil Spill Conference Proceedings 1985. pp. 421-427.                                                                                                                                                          
Nichols, J.A. and White, I.C. 1979. Aerial Application of Dispersants in Bantry Bay following the Betelqeuse Incident.
Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 10. pp. 193-197. Pergamon Press, Ltd. 1979.                                                                                                                                                       
OSIR Oil Spills, International Summary & Review, 1978-1981
Tanker Advisory Center, Inc. 1991 Guide for the Selection of Tankers. T.A.C. Inc. 1991.

ATLANTIC EMPRESS (Tobago, 1979) 
On 19 July 1979 two fully loaded VLCCs (very large crude carriers), the ATLANTIC EMPRESS and AEGEAN CAPTAIN, were involved in a collision approximately 10 miles off Tobago during a tropical rainstorm. Both vessels began leaking oil immediately after the collision and both caught fire.  Several crewmen lost their lives.
The fire on board the AEGEAN CAPTAIN was brought under control and the vessel was eventually towed to Curacao where its remaining cargo was discharged. The still blazing ATLANTIC EMPRESS was towed further out to sea on 21 and 22 July.  A week later, when 300 nautical miles offshore, a large explosion caused severe damage to the vessel; it began to list and eventually sank on 2 August.
The response to the incident involved a significant fire-fighting effort and use of dispersants to treat the oil that was spilled during the original incident and while the vessel was being towed.
An estimated 287,000 tonnes of oil was spilled from the ATLANTIC EMPRESES, which makes this the largest ship source spill ever recorded.  No impact studies were carried out, so it is not known what quantity of oil was burned or sank.  Only very minor shore pollution was reported on nearby islands.   

Selected Bibliography

Hooke, N. (1997) Maritime casualties, 1963-1996.  2nd edition, LLP Limited, London


CEDRE - Case History


TANIO (France, 1980)

On 7 March 1980 TANIO, carrying 26 000 tonnes of No. 6 fuel oil, broke in two during violent weather conditions off the coast of Brittany, France. As a result approximately 13,500 tonnes of cargo oil was spilled. The stern section, with about 7,500 tonnes of cargo oil aboard, remained afloat and was towed to Le Havre; the bow section, carrying 5,000 tonnes of cargo oil, sank to a depth of 90 metres. Strong northwest winds at the time of the incident moved the oil towards the Breton coast (which had already received major oil impacts from the TORREY CANYON spill in 1967 and the AMOCO CADIZ in 1978). Due to the high viscosity of the oil and severe weather conditions, neither chemical dispersal nor containment and recovery techniques at sea were possible. The spilled oil began to be washed ashore on 9 March, and eventually contaminated about 200km of coastline to varying degrees. Many of the worst affected areas could not be boomed effectively because of the nature of the coastline, the extremely large tidal range (9m) and the severity of the weather at the time of the accident.
As tourism is of major importance in Brittany, the main emphasis of the cleanup operation was to return amenity areas to a usable condition as quickly as possible. In severely contaminated areas, bulk oil was removed by the use of tractor-drawn vacuum trucks, but this technique could not be used on cold, cloudy days when the oil became too viscous. Owing to concern that a forthcoming high tide would extend the shoreline contamination, it was decided that a more rapid removal of the bulk oil was required. Heavy earth-moving equipment (bulldozers and front-end loaders) was therefore used despite the well-known detrimental effects of driving heavy equipment over severely oiled beaches. While much oil (and a considerable amount of beach material) was removed within a short time, the underlying sediments at a number of sites were heavily contaminated and required extensive restoration work at a later stage. Where access was difficult or where the deposits of oil were thin or well spread out, men with shovels were employed to pick up the oil and to put it into sacks or tractor-drawn trailers. Oil collected during the cleanup operation was taken to a tanker deballasting station for treatment. The removal of bulk oil was followed by the cleaning of the rocks in the tourist areas, using hot water washing machines and high pressure cold water jets. Released oil was collected using granular mineral sorbents and dispersants were used in cases of severely contaminated rocks. By the time the cleanup operation was completed at the beginning of July most of the beaches and accessible rocks had been restored to something approaching their pre-spill state.
The TANIO spill presented considerable cleanup problems to which there was no easy solution, but the low toxicity of the oil meant that the environmental effects were limited. Approximately 1,700 dead birds, primarily guillemots and other auks, were recovered during the incident, and there were some localised effects - such as contaminated oyster beds and disrupted seaweed harvests - caused by the smothering of intertidal life and by the extensive cleanup operations at the worst affected areas.

Selected Bibliography

Ganten, R.H. (1985). The Tanio spill: A case history illustrating the work of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund. Proceedings of the 1985 Oil Spill Conference, 135-139. API Publication No.4385. American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA
Brac, C. (1981). Operation Tanio. La Nouvelle Revue Maritime. July, 363, 10-25.


CEDRE - Case History

ASSIMI  (Oman, 1983)

On January 7, 1983, a fire broke out in the engine room of the tanker Assimi. The crew abandoned ship and he Assimi was taken under tow by the tug Solano. On January 10, an explosion occurred aboard the vessel and it burned fiercely for several days as it was towed into the Arabian Sea. The tanker was towed to a point 00 miles off the coast of Oman where it sank on January 16. A second explosion occurred as the vessel was inking which ignited the oil on the surface of the water. A slick formed above the area where the vessel tank. There was no coastal pollution resulting from the incident.

Behavior of Oil
Light Iranian crude oil is a medium weight product with an API gravity of 33.8 and a viscosity of 6.6 centistokes. An overflight on January 19 revealed a slick of silver sheen in the vicinity of the sinking covering 100 square miles and moving towards the northeast. Personnel on an overflight on January 22 found some fresh oil in the slick. The older oil had emulsified, and the total area of the slick was reduced.
The northernmost edge of the slick was 180 miles off the coast of Pakistan. An overflight on February 4 showed that most of the oil had dispersed.

Countermeasures and Mitigation
The government of Oman convened a council that included representatives from the Council for Conservation of the Environment and Prevention of Pollution (CCEPP), Sultanate of Oman Navy (SON), Sultanate of Oman Air Force (SOAF), the Royal Oman Police (Marine), the Maritime Affairs Department, the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals, and the petroleum industry. The council was to form a response strategy in the event of a release of oil. International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd. (ITOPF) and Smit International were asked to provide expertise, and representatives from those organizations arrived in Oman on January 12. International Transport Company Contractors, the salvors of the Assimi, contracted Smit International to help fight the fire. Equipment and personnel from Smit fought the fire using water and foam from their tug Smit Pioneer. On January 11, the fire was still burning, and the firefighters flooded the pump room in an attempt to keep the fire from spreading from the engine room to the cargo tanks. The government of Oman contacted the Gulf Area Oil Companies Mutual Aid Organization (GAOCMAO) to provide an aircraft with dispersant spraying capabilities. Vessels from the Sultanate of Oman Navy (SON),
were equipped with booms and dispersants. Dispersants were obtained from Saudi Arabia and Dubai to supplement the stock of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). No dispersants were applied, because the oil was observed to dissipate rapidly. The vessel began to sink while under tow by the Solano, and the Oman government ordered the salvors to tow the vessel to a point 200 miles from the coast of Oman and sink it. On January 16, the Assimi was sunk at 22°43' N, 63°58' E in 3000 meters of water. An explosion occurred as the vessel sank and a slick of burning
oil formed on the surface.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) was contacted to assess the threat to environment and make recommendations to the Oman council. The council also contacted the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) to provide expertise. Observers of the sinking suggested that the oil released by the breakup had burned on site. The IMO and ROPME representatives advised further overflights to determine if the tanker was still leaking oil. An overflight on January 19 revealed a slick of silver sheen covering 100 square miles and moving towards the northeast. The government of Pakistan was notified that the slick was heading towards their coast. An overflight on January 22 found fresh oil on the surface near the sinking. The older oil had emulsified, and the total area of the slick was reduced. The northern most edge of the slick was 180 miles off the coast of Pakistan. An overflight on February 4 showed that most of the oil had dispersed.
Other Special Interest Issues
The Assimi originally caught fire on January 7, and attempts were made to extinguish the fire. After an explosion on January 10 the fire was burning more fiercely. The salvors of the vessel were refused passage through the Straits of Hormuz. On January 12 the tow had been let go due to fears that the fire could flash back, however, the Solano was able to reconnect the tow and pull the Assimi even further from the coast.

An expert from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations arrived in Oman on January 21 to determine the risk to fisheries in the Arabian Sea. The FAO representative reported that a spill that far from the coast would not affect the fisheries.

8/9/91 & 8/28/91 Letters from Daniel Owen at ITOPF
Genwest Systems, Inc. communications with ITOPF representatives.
Hayes, T.M. 1985. The Tanker Assimi - A Case History. Oil Spill Conference Proceedings 1985. pp.307-310.
MMS Worldwide Tanker Spill Database
OSIR Newsletter 2/21/91
OSIR Oil Spills, International Summary & Review, 1982-1985
Tanker Advisory Center, Inc. 1991 Guide for the Selection of Tankers. T.A.C. Inc. 1991.
International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd. (ITOPF), fire, explosion, sinking.

CASTILLO DE BELLVER (South Africa, 1983)
CASTILLO DE BELLVER, carrying 252,000 tonnes of light crude oil (Murban and Upper Zakum), caught fire about 70 miles north west of Cape Town, South Africa on 6 August 1983. The blazing ship drifted off shore and broke in two. The stern section - possibly with as much as 100,000 tonnes of oil remaining in its tanks - capsized and sank in deep water, 24 miles off the coast. The bow section was towed away from the coast and was eventually sunk with the use of controlled explosive charges. Approximately 50-60,000 tonnes are estimated to have spilled into the sea or burned. Although the oil initially drifted towards the coast, a wind shift subsequently took it offshore, where it entered the north-west flowing Benguela Current.
Although a considerable amount of oil entered the sea as a result of the CASTILLO DE BELLVER incident, there was little requirement for cleanup (there was some dispersant spraying) and environmental effects were minimal. The only visible damage was the oiling of some 1,500 gannets, most of which were collected from an island near the coast where they were gathering for the onset of the breeding season. A number of seals were observed surfacing in the vicinity of the dispersant spraying activities but were not thought to have suffered any adverse effects.
Also of initial concern was the 'black rain' of airborne oil droplets that fell during the first 24 hours of the incident on wheat growing and sheep grazing lands due east of the accident, although no long-term damage was recorded from these residues. The impact on both the rich fishing grounds and the fish stocks of the area was also considered to be negligible.

Selected Bibliography

Moldan, A.G.S. et al (1985). Some aspects of the Castillo de Bellver oil spill. Marine Pollution Bulletin 16 (3) 97-102
Wardley-Smith, J. (1983). The Castillo de Bellver. Oil and Petrochemical Pollution 4 (1) 291-293

ODYSSEY (Off Canada, 1988)

On November 10th 1988, the Liberian tanker ODYSSEY, almost fully loaded with a cargo of 132,157 tonnes of North Sea Brent crude oil, broke into two and sank in heavy weather in the North Atlantic 700 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia while on voyage from Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands to Come by Chance Newfoundland.  Fire started on the stern section as it sank and the surrounding oil caught fire. 
Due to the rough weather conditions, the Canadian coast guard was only able to come within 1.75 miles of the vessel whilst on fire. As the incident occurred 700 miles from the nearest coastline, there were no concerns about pollution as the oil was expected to dissipate naturally.

Selected Bibliography

Hooke, N. (1997) Maritime casualties, 1963-1996.  2nd edition, LLP Limited, London

EXXON VALDEZ (United States, 1989)

EXXON VALDEZ grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on 24 March 1989. About 37,000 tonnes of Alaska North Slope crude escaped into the Sound and spread widely. There was some limited dispersant spraying and an experimental in-situ burn trial during the early stages of the spill, but at-sea response concentrated on containment and recovery. Despite the utilisation of a massive number of vessels, booms and skimmers, less than 10% of the original spill volume was recovered from the sea surface. The oil subsequently affected a variety of shores, mainly rock and cobble, to varying degrees over an estimated 1,800km in Prince William Sound and along Alaska's south coast as far west as Kodiak Island.
This spill attracted an enormous amount of media attention because it was the largest spill to date in US waters (although well down the scale in world terms). Moreover, it happened in a splendidly scenic wilderness area with important fisheries and attractive wildlife such as sea otters and bald eagles. Consequently the response was the most expensive in oil spill history, with over 10,000 workers being employed at the height of the cleanup operations, many of them in shoreline cleanup, often in remote areas. The clean-up cost for the first year alone was over US$2 billion.
Shoreline cleanup techniques included high pressure, hot water washing, which was carried out on a scale never attempted previously or subsequently. This caused substantial impact in intertidal communities and may have delayed their recovery in some areas, although recovery on over 70% of oiled shorelines was progressing well one year after the spill. There were also some relatively large scale bioremediation trials that gave mixed results. About 1,000 sea otters are known to have died, and over 35,000 dead birds were retrieved. There were particular efforts to protect fisheries, for example with booming of salmon hatcheries. Oil residues remain trapped in intertidal sediments at a few locations and scientists dispute the evidence of long-term damage to wildlife and fish populations. Indeed, assessment of damage and recovery has been controversial because of the segregation of scientists into different camps, as a result of US litigation practices.
After repairs, the Exxon Valdez (1986-1989) was renamed the Exxon Mediterranean (1990-1993)(left), then Sea River Mediterranean (1993-2005) when Exxon transferred their shipping business to a new subsidiary company, Sea River Maritime Inc. Then it was later shortened to S/R Mediterranean (1993-1995), then to just Mediterranean (2005-2008).

Exxon tried briefly to return the ship to its North American fleet; she was prohibited by OPA90 from returning to
Prince William Sound. It then served in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In 2002, the ship was again removed from service.

In 2005, it began operating under the
Marshall Islands flag of convenience. Since then, European Union regulations have prevented vessels with single-hull designs from entering European ports.

She is currently in service in East Asia. In early 2008, Sea River Maritime, sold the Mediterranean to a Hong Kong based shipping company named Hong Kong Bloom Shipping Ltd., who renamed the ship once again as Dong Fang Ocean (right), now under Panama registry. During 2008, the ship was refitted, converting her from an oil tanker to an ore carrier. Dong Fang Ocean remained in service as of 2010.

I wonder if she will be hounded as an ore carrier as she was as an oil tanker!

Sailors always said that changing a ships name bought bad luck, changing it 6 times was probably not a good idea.
On November 29, 2010, Dong Fang Ocean collided in the South China Sea with the Aali a Maltese flagged cargo ship.  Both vessels were severely damaged in the incident, and Aali was towed to Weihai and Dong Fang Ocean was towed to Longyan Port in Shandong As of 10 December 2010.
March 20, 2012 - 23 years after causing the worst tanker spill in U.S. history renamed the Oriental Nicety, the vessel was sold for about $16 million to Global Marketing Systems Inc., a Maryland-based ash buyer of ships for demolition, by Cosco. In 2007, it was transformed into an ore carrier and has had four different owners and names since the 1989 accident.
Selected Bibliography
Rice, S.D., Spies, R.B., Wolfe, D.A. and Wright, B.A. (editors) (1996). Proceedings of the Exxon Valdez oil spill symposium. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Wells, P.G., Butler, J.N. and Hughes, J.S. (editors) (1995). Exxon Valdez oil spill - fate and effects in Alaskan waters. ASTM (STP 1219), Philadelphia, USA
Galt, J.A., Lehr, W.J. and Payton, D.L. (1991). Fate and transport of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Environmental Science & Technology 25 (2) 202-209
Alaska Sea Grant College Program (1995). Prevention, response and oversight five years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Proceedings of an international conference, 23-25 March 1994, Anchorage, Alaska. Report no. 95-02. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA
Loughlin, T.R. (editor) (1994). Marine mammals and the Exxon Valdez. Academic Press Inc, San Diego, USA


CEDRE - Case History

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

Valdez Science - An Environmental Update
Results of key scientific studies of Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Supported by ExxonMobil Inc.

HAVEN (Italy, 1991)

On April 11, 1991, the sister ship to Amoco Cadiz the tanker Haven caught fire while anchored 7 miles off of Genoa, Italy. The Haven suffered a series of explosions and broke into three parts. A portion of the deck sank, and the rest of the vessel began to drift to the southwest. The bow section sank in water 7 miles off Arenzano. The rest of the vessel was towed to shallower waters 1.5 miles off Arenzano where it sank on April 14.
Behavior of Oil
Iranian Heavy crude oil has an API gravity of 31, and a pour point of -5 degrees F. Of the 1,000,000 barrels onboard the Haven when it caught fire, approximately 450,000 barrels burned. It was estimated that 142,857 barrels spilled into the sea before the Haven sank, and small quantities of oil continued to leak from the wreck afterwards. On April 17, oil impacted the beaches at Arenzano, Cogoleto, and Varazze. About 300 barrels of oil entered the marina at Arenzano. Fishing boats, yachts, moorings, and the harbor walls were heavily oiled. The marina at Varazze was also oiled to a lesser degree. Twenty five miles of Italian coastline were impacted by 1,400 barrels of oil. By April 24, there was a 154 square mile slick off the coast of France. Mousse and sheen impacted the French shoreline near Nice on April 24. Impacts of oil on the shorelines of France and Monaco were light. St. Tropez suffered the worst damage in France, with about 700 barrels in the form of mousse impacting 3 miles of shoreline.
Countermeasures and Mitigation
The Harbour Master in Genoa was responsible for the cleanup and recovery of the oil. International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, Ltd. (ITOPF) personnel arrived on scene the day of the spill to advise the Harbour Master, and to monitor the operations.
The Italian Coast Guard maintained booms in the vicinity of the wreck, and attempted recovery of the oil with skimmers. Ecolmare was contracted for containment and recovery operations. Approximately 35,700 barrels of oil were recovered by April 16. Booms were deployed as a precautionary measure at recreational beaches. The booms held some slicks offshore, but storms eventually blew the booms and the oil onto the beaches. At Arenzano, Cogoleto, and Varazze, the oil settled 1-2 inches into the fine sand beaches, and up to 1 foot into the coarse grained beaches. Shoreline cleanup was conducted by authorities local to the oiled areas. Cleanup was done by volunteers and the army, and consisted mostly of manual removal of oil and oiled debris. Vacuum trucks were used to pick up the larger pools of oil. Approximately 26,140 cubic yards of oiled debris were collected. The French Navy attempted to prevent shoreline impacts with booms and skimmers. Shoreline cleanup operations in France and Monaco consisted mostly of manual removal of oil and oiled debris from the beaches.
Other Special Interest Issues
Surveys using side-scanning sonar, sub-bottom profiling, and remotely operated vehicles located areas under the track of the vessel where oil had sunk. Diving operations were attempted to recover some of the sunken oil. Suction operations cleaned burned oil residue from the main wreck, and divers managed to control some of the underwater leaks.
Genwest Systems, Inc. communications with ITOPF representatives.
International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund Annual Report 1991. pp.58-70.
Italian Spill Hits French
Riviera, Oil Continues to Leak from Tanker. Oil Spill Intelligence Report. Vol. XIV, No. 15. April 25, 1991. p.2.               
Officials Fear Italian Spill May Impact French
Riviera. Oil Spill Intelligence Report. Vol. XIV, No. 14. April 18, 1991. pp.1-2.                                   
Winds Prevent Further Damage to French
Riviera. Oil Spill Intelligence Report. Vol. XIV, No. 16. May 2, 1991. pp.3-4.

KIRKI (Australia, 1991) 

On July 21, 1991, the Greek tanker Kirki caught fire 20 miles off the coast of Western Australia, near Cervantes. The vessel was en-route from the Arabian Gulf to Kwinana, Australia. It was owned by Mayamar Marine Enterprises of Piraeus, Greece. The Kirki's bow broke off in heavy seas, rupturing two of the forward tanks. Approximately 135,000 barrels of light Murban crude were spilled, most of it on the first day. Small amounts of oil leaked during the subsequent towing of the Kirki. The salvage vessel Lady Kathleen was in the area of the incident and responded quickly to the Kirki's distress call. The Lady Kathleen towed the vessel to the west away from the shore, preventing further casualties.
Behavior of Oil
Light Murban crude oil has an API gravity of 40.5, and a pour point of -24 degrees F. The spill from the broken bow created a 60 mile long, 1 to 10 mile wide slick just 4 miles off the coast of Western Australia. The fire on the Kirki was extinguished quickly, so little oil burned. By July 24, most of the spilled oil had evaporated or dissipated in heavy seas. The small amount of oil that leaked during the tow dissipated within a
few miles of the vessel's track. On July 23, some beaches around Jurien Bay were polluted by oil in the form of small emulsified pellets.

Countermeasures and Mitigation
The ruptured tanks on the Kirki continued to leak small amounts of oil as the vessel was towed an additional 15 miles west from the shoreline. Recovery and cleanup equipment were flown to the area, but application of dispersants was the primary response. Use of dispersants began on July 22 and ended the next day. Dispersants (24 drums of Ardox 6120, 6 drums of Shell VTS) were applied from aircraft to the area of the
initial spill. Small amounts of dispersants were sprayed by boat to areas closer to shore. While the heavy seas prevented use of booms and skimmers in the spill area, booms were deployed as a preventive measure around some of the more sensitive islands in the area. Besides the dispersion
due to wave action, the oil was further broken up by five fishing boats that repeatedly traversed the slick. Beach impacts were slight and the Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that no action be taken except for some tilling near inhabited areas.
Plans were made to transfer the oil remaining on the stern section of the Kirki to another vessel. The Kirki was towed to a point 70 miles northwest of the Australian coast by the salvage ship Lady Elizabeth. Between August 14 to August 19, 484,000 barrels of light Murban crude, fuel oil, and waste oil, were transferred to the Liberian tanker Flying Clipper. Due to the missing bow, the Kirki could not be anchored, so the transfer
operations were performed while all three vessels involved were underway. By August 22, United Salvage had the Kirki undertow en-route to Singapore for salvage or scrapping.

Other Special Interest Issues
The transfer of oil while all the vessels involved were underway was unusual. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported that it was the first time that such an operation was ever performed and it was very successful.

Australian Officials Conduct Successful Transfer of Oil from Greek Tanker Kirki. Oil Spill Intelligence report. Vol. XIV, No. 32. 22 August 1991. pp.2-3.
Australian Officials Prepare to Transfer Oil from Greek Tanker Kirki. Oil Spill Intelligence Report. Vol. XIV, o. 29. 1 August 1991. p.3.
Genwest Systems, Inc. communications with ITOPF representatives.
Greek Tanker Breaks Up off Western Coast of Australia; Authorities Question Ship's Crew and Captain. Oil pill Intelligence Report. Vol. XIV, No. 28. 25 July 1991. pp.1-2.

AEGEAN SEA (Spain, 1992)

On 3 December 1992 the Greek OBO carrier (ore/bulk/oil) AEGEAN SEA, laden with 80,000 tonnes of North Sea Brent crude oil, ran aground during heavy weather while approaching the port of La Coruna on the Galician coast, North West Spain.  The vessel broke in two and caught fire.  Ship and spilled cargo burned for several days, causing dense clouds of black smoke to threaten the city of La Coruna, leading to a temporary mass evacuation.
The forward section of the AEGEAN SEA sank in shallow water some 50 metres from the coast.  The stern section remained largely intact and was found to contain 6,500 tonnes of remaining cargo and 1,700 tonnes of bunker fuel which was eventually pumped ashore by salvors. 
Strong winds over the first five days helped to disperse much of the light crude naturally, but also hampered recovery of oil at sea.   Attempts at recovering oil from natural collecting points on-shore were more successful. 
The quantity of oil spilt was estimated at about 74,000 tonnes, much of which either dispersed at sea or was consumed by the fire on board the vessel. Spilt crude oil also impacted rocky shores, small sandy beaches and a salt marsh/mud flat area. In total, over 300km of shoreline were contaminated to varying degrees. Manual cleaning of shorelines began in late December and continued sporadically for several months.  Collected oily waste was delivered to a local ceramics factory for disposal.
A variety of commercially important species, including mussels, were tainted and a comprehensive fishing and harvesting ban was imposed to protect a thriving fishing and mariculture industry.

Selected Bibliography

Hooke, N. (1997). Maritime casualties, 1963-1996. 2nd edition, LLP Limited, London
Pastor, D., Sanchez, J., Porte, C. and Albaigés, J. (2001). The Aegean Sea Oil Spill in the Galicia Coast (NW Spain). I. Distribution and Fate of the Crude Oil and Combustion Products in Subtidal Sediments. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42: 895 – 904.
Porte, C., Biosca, X., Sole, M., Pastor, D. and Albaigés, J. (1996). The Aegean Sea Oil Spill One Year After: Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Biochemical Responses in Marine Bivalves. Marine Environmental Research 42: 404 – 405.


CEDRE - Case History

BRAER (UK, 1993)

Following engine failure, BRAER ran aground in severe weather conditions on Garth's Ness, Shetland on 5 January 1993. Over a period of 12 days the entire cargo of 84,700 tonnes of Norwegian Gullfaks crude oil, plus up to 1,500 tonnes of heavy bunker oil, were lost as almost constant storm force winds and heavy seas broke the ship apart. Weather conditions prevented the use of mechanical recovery equipment at sea, although about 130 tonnes of chemical dispersant was applied from aircraft during periods when the wind abated slightly and some oil remained on the surface. Oiling of shorelines was minimal relative to the size of the spill and cleanup involved the collection of oily debris and seaweed by a small workforce.
The BRAER spill was very unusual in that a surface slick was not produced. A combination of the light nature of the oil and the exceptionally strong wind and wave energy naturally dispersed the oil throughout the water column. The oil droplets were adsorbed onto sediment particles which eventually sank to the sea bed. Sub-surface currents led to this oil being spread over a very wide area, although a significant portion eventually ended up in two deep, fine sediment 'sinks'.
A wide range of fish and shellfish over a fairly large area became contaminated with oil, resulting in the imposition of a Fisheries Exclusion Zone. Farmed salmon held in sea cages in the surface waters within this zone bore the brunt of the contamination since they could not escape the cloud of dispersed oil. Although this contamination was lost quickly once clean water conditions returned, millions of salmon that could not be marketed had to be destroyed. The Exclusion Zone was progressively lifted as fish and shellfish species were found by chemical analysis and taste testing to be free of contamination, although it was still in place over 6 years after the spill for mussels and Norway lobsters at some sites within the closure area.
The BRAER spill was unusual in that a significant amount of oil was blown on to land adjacent to the wreck site. The effects of this airborne oil were localised and had no more than a temporary impact on vegetation and livestock. Seabird casualties were also relatively low. Considering the size of the spill, the environmental impacts were surprisingly limited.

Selected Bibliography

Davies, J.M. & Topping, G. (editors) (1997). The impact of an oil spill in turbulent waters: The Braer. Proceedings of a symposium held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 7-8 September 1995. Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK
ESGOSS (1994). The environmental impact of the wreck of the Braer. Scottish Office, Edinburgh, UK
Marine Pollution Control Unit (1993). The Braer Incident, Shetland Islands, January 1993. HMSO, London, UK


CEDRE - Case History

SEA EMPRESS (United Kingdom, 1996)

On the evening of 15 February 1996, SEA EMPRESS, carrying 130,000 tonnes of Forties Blend North Sea crude oil, ran aground in the entrance to Milford Haven, South West Wales. Although the tanker was refloated within a couple of hours, it sustained serious damage to its starboard and centre tanks, resulting in a massive release of oil. Attempts to bring the vessel under control and to undertake a ship-to-ship transfer operation were thwarted by severe weather and the tanker grounded and refloated several more times over a period of five days. In all, some 72,000 tonnes of crude oil and 370 tonnes of heavy fuel oil were released into the sea between the initial grounding and the final refloating operation.
The SEA EMPRESS cleanup operations were wide-ranging and effective. At sea these included dispersant spraying, mechanical recovery and the use of the protective booms. This, coupled with a high rate of evaporation and natural dispersion, greatly reduced the quantity of oil reaching inshore waters. Some 200km of coastline - much of it in a National Park - was contaminated and a major shoreline cleanup effort had to be mounted, involving mechanical recovery, trenching, beach washing, and the use of dispersants and sorbents. The main recreational beaches were cleaned by the Easter holidays, some two months after the spill, although other areas required longer treatment throughout the summer. A temporary ban was imposed on commercial and recreational fishing in the region and there was concern that tourism, important to the local economy, would be badly affected by the heavily oiled beaches. Several thousand oiled birds washed ashore, leading to a major cleaning and rehabilitation operation.
The UK government appointed an independent committee, the Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee (SEEEC), to assess the damage caused by the spill. It found that although some wildlife populations were damaged (some severely) and a few would take years to recover, the great majority proved resilient and after two years had regained their former abundance. It appears that although a very large amount of oil was spilled in a particularly sensitive area, the impact was far less severe than many people had expected. This was due to a combination of factors - in particular, the time of year, the type of oil, weather conditions at the time of the spill, the cleanup response and the natural resilience and recovery potential of many marine species.

Selected Bibliography

Moore, J. (2006). State of the marine environment in SW Wales, 10 years after the Sea Empress oil spill. Countryside Council for Wales, UK
Sime, H. & Edwards, R. (editors) (1998). The Sea Empress oil spill. Proceedings of a conference held in Cardiff 11-13 February 1998. CIWEM, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, UK
Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee, SEEEC (1998). The environmental impact of the Sea Empress. Stationery Office, London, UK
Marine Pollution Control Unit, MPCU (1996). The Sea Empress incident. A report by the Marine Pollution Control Unit, December 1996. The Coastguard Agency, Southampton, UK
Edwards, R. & White, I. (1999). The Sea Empress Oil Spill: Environmental Impact and Recovery (1999). Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 1999, 7-12 March 1999, Seattle, USA, 97-102, American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA


CEDRE - Case History

The Environmental Impact of the Sea Empress Oil Spill
Text of Sea Empress Environmental Evaluation Committee (SEEEC) summary report

The Sea Empress Incident: Summary of Report
Summary of the Marine Pollution Control Unit's report into the Sea Empress clean-up operation

The Sea Empress Oil Spill
University of Wales, School of Biological Sciences

ERIKA (France, 1999)

The Maltese tanker ERIKA, carrying some 31,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil as cargo, broke in two in a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay on 11 December 1999, 60 miles from the coast of Brittany. About 20,000 tonnes of oil were spilled. The bow sank on 12 December and the stern on the following day.
The French Naval Command in Brest took charge of the response operations at sea in accordance with the French National Contingency Plan. Response vessels were mobilised on 14 December, but attempts at skimming ultimately met with little success owing to the poor weather and widespread fragmentation of the slick. In 15 days of operations 1,100 tonnes of oil/water mixture were collected, mainly during a 24-hour period of relatively calm weather and reduced swell. It has been estimated that less than 3% of the total spill volume was collected during the response operations at sea.
Owing to the influence of strong winds and currents, shoreline oiling did not occur as quickly as expected or in the locations originally forecast. After first moving south-east from the spill site toward La Rochelle, then turning north, the oil finally began stranding around the mouth of the River Loire on Christmas Day 1999. Intermittent oiling subsequently occurred over some 400km of shoreline between Finistère and Charente-Maritime. Due to the long time that the oil spent at sea, much of it formed a water-in-oil emulsion, which increased its volume and viscosity.
The degree of oiling of shores was very patchy through the affected area. The most heavily contaminated areas were located in Loire Atlantique, the northern Vendée and on offshore islands, notably Belle Ile. These areas required the mobilisation of considerable cleanup resources to carry out a programme of initial bulk oil removal, followed by prolonged and difficult secondary cleaning. Other areas received only very light oiling (eg parts of Finistère and Morbihan) where fine cleaning alone was needed.
During the cleanup operation, more than 250,000 tonnes of oily waste was collected from shorelines and temporarily stockpiled. Temporary reception facilities were established in car parks and stretches of land close to beaches, mainly by building earth or sand bunds or digging holes and lining them with plastic. Ultimately, the French oil company Total agreed to receive all the wastes at their Donges refinery, where adequate storage sites were available within and close to the refinery. Little attention was paid to segregation of wastes, however. The result was a mixture of oil, sand, debris, seaweed, protective clothing, damaged booms and other response equipment like scrapers, buckets and spades, which needed sorting before disposal could proceed.
Operations to pump out oil remaining in the sunken sections of ERIKA began once the weather improved in June 2000 and were successfully completed within three months. Some 10,000 tonnes of oil were recovered during the main pumping operations. Fine cleaning added a further 1,200 tonnes.
The main environmental impact of the spill was on sea birds. Almost 65,000 oiled birds were collected from beaches, of which almost 50,000 were dead. A major cleaning operation was mounted for the 15,000 oiled survivors and 2,000 were ultimately released.
The magnitude of the spill and the length of coastline affected resulted in a large number of compensation claims. There are important coastal fisheries, mariculture (oysters and mussels) and tourism resources throughout southern Brittany and the Vendée. Salt production areas were also affected by oil pollution.

Selected Bibliography

The ERIKA oil spill: environmental contamination and effects in the Bay of Biscay (2004). Special issue of Aquatic Living Resources, Volume 17, Number 3, July-September 2004. EDP Sciences
Le Guerroue, P., Poupon, E., Merlin, F.X., Cariou, G. (2003). Recovery of sunken and buried oil in coastal water during the Erika spill. Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 2003, Vancouver, Canada, 6-11 April 2003 (CD ROM). American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA
Ragot, R., Poncet, F., Laruelle, F., Tintilier, F. (2003). Results of a three year monitoring programme on the natural recovery of vegetation after the Erika oil spill: Lessons for adapting response techniques. Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 2003, Vancouver, Canada, 6-11 April 2003 (CD ROM). American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA
Laruelle, F., Kerambrun, L. (2001). Erika oil spill: some innovations in the French shoreline response and beach cleanup methods. Proceedings of the twenty-fourth Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program (AMOP) technical seminar (including 18th TSOCS and 3rd PHYTO), Edmonton, Canada, 12-14 June 2001, 671-678. Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada
Couvreur, J.-F., Scherrer, P. (2001). Treatment of waste from the Erika spill. Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 2001, Tampa, Florida, 26-29 March 2001 (CD ROM). American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA
LeDrean-Quenec'hdu, S., Jacques, J-P., Lamy, A. (2001). The Erika oil spill: The bird rescue response. Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 2001, Tampa, Florida, 26-29 March 2001 (CD ROM). American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA
Peigne, G., Cabioc'h, F. (2001). Offshore operations following the Erika oil spill. Proceedings of the International Oil Spill Conference 2001, Tampa, Florida, 26-29 March 2001 (CD ROM). American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA


CEDRE - Case History

International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds

JESSICA (Galapagos, 2001)
The fuel tanker JESSICA grounded on Shiavioni reef at the entrance of Wreck Bay, San Cristobal, Galapagos  at 2200 on 16 January 2001. The vessel was carrying approximately 900m3 of fuel oil consisting of 680m3 of Diesel Oil #2 and 390 m3 of Intermediate Fuel Oil 120 (IFO 120, or bunker fuel).
Approximately 18m3 of IFO and 210m3 gallons of diesel were removed by the US Coast Guard .Gulf Strike Team, Ecuadorian Navy and local fishermen.
By 29th January, most of the remaining 680m3 gallons of fuel oil and 390 m3 of DO#2) had escaped from the hull and dispersed to waters within the archipelago.
Movement of Oil
The results of the Galapagos Coastal Oil Survey indicate that, in general, environmental contamination from the Jessica spill was dispersed throughout the south and west of the archipelago. Survey work confirmed that bunker fuel went ashore at sites on the remote the coastlines of Fernandina and Isabela. The heaviest levels of shoreline contamination occurred on Floreana and Isabela, lower levels were found at Santa Fé, Santa Cruz, and San Cristóbal and secondary contamination was found on Española and Fernandina. Only one survey site contained sufficient coverage of oil to be termed moderate.
All other sites had light or very light surface oil. Compared to other spills of this size, it seems as though the Galápagos Islands were very lucky, as most of the oil apparently threaded through the archipelago to the southwest without coming ashore.
Initial Impacts on Coastal Vertebrates
Galapagos is host to a variety of charismatic coastal dwelling, marine vertebrates, such as Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galapagos petrels and California sea lions.
The total effect of oil on the coastal vertebrate diversity of the Galapagos appears negligible, but is in fact very difficult to quantify. Only 370 large animals were reported to be affected by oil. The smaller numbers of affected animals on other islands likely reflects the fact that the most toxic elements in oil are also the most volatile, and evaporated quickly due to the warm-season sunshine, thus oil that reached other islands may have been less likely to harm animals.
This case showed that small amounts of oil in very sensitive areas can cause more problems than large amounts in less sensitive areas.

PRESTIGE (Spain, 2002)

During the afternoon of Wednesday 13 November 2002, the tanker PRESTIGE (81,564 DWT), carrying a cargo of 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, suffered hull damage in heavy seas off northern Spain. She developed a severe list and drifted towards the coast, and was eventually taken in tow by salvage tugs. The casualty was reportedly denied access to a sheltered, safe haven in either Spain or Portugal and so had to be towed out into the Atlantic. Although attempts were made by salvors to minimise the stresses on the vessel, she broke in two early on 19 November some 170 miles west of Vigo, and the two sections sank some hours later in water two miles deep. In all, it is estimated that some 63,000 tonnes were lost from the PRESTIGE.
Owing to the highly persistent nature of PRESTIGE's cargo, the released oil drifted for extended periods with winds and currents, travelling great distances. Oil first came ashore in Galicia, where the predominantly rocky coastline was heavily contaminated. Remobilisation of stranded oil and fresh strandings of increasingly fragmented weathered oil continued over the ensuing weeks, gradually moving the oil into the Bay of Biscay and affecting the north coast of Spain and the Atlantic coast of France, as far north as Brittany. Some light and intermittent contamination was also experienced on the French and English coasts of the English Channel. Although oil entered Portuguese waters, there was no contamination of the coastline.
A major offshore cleanup operation was carried out using vessels from Spain and nine other European countries. The response, which was probably the largest international effort of its kind ever mounted, was hampered by severe weather and by the inability of those vessels that lacked cargo heating capability to discharge recovered oil. Over a thousand fishing vessels also participated in the cleanup in sheltered coastal waters and during favourable weather. As some of the oil moved into French waters, control of a reduced at-sea recovery operation passed to the French authorities.
The open-sea recovery operation off Spain reportedly removed almost 50,000 tonnes of oil-water mixture. However this, and the extensive booming of estuaries and sensitive areas by the deployment of over 20km of boom, failed to prevent extensive coastal contamination. Altogether approximately 1,900 km of shoreline were affected. The shorelines of Spain were largely cleaned manually by a workforce of over 5,000 military and local government personnel, contactors and volunteers. The process was slow, especially in rocky areas where access was difficult. A further problem was re-oiling of previously cleaned areas by re-mobilised oil. On the French Atlantic coast the beach contamination took the form of numerous tar balls which were relatively easy to remove. In total, some 141,000 tonnes of oily waste was collected in Spain and 18,300 tonnes in France.
Fisheries exclusion zones were put in place in Galicia shortly after the incident, banning virtually all fishing along about 90% of the coastline. All bans had been lifted by October 2003. The impact on fisheries in France was less extensive. In both countries, an impact on tourism was reported for 2003.
The Spanish authorities decided to remove the oil remaining in the wreck. The work commenced in May 2004 and was finalised in September 2004 at an estimated cost of some €100 million.

Selected Bibliography

Albaiges, J., Vilas, F., Morales-Nin, B. (2006). The Prestige: A scientific response. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 53, Nos 5-7, 2006
Guillen, A.V. (2004). Prestige and the law: regulations and compensation. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference Oil Pollution 2004. Claims Handling and Cleanup Response, London, 15-16 March 2004. Lloyd's List Events, London, UK
Lorenzo, F.A. (2004). Clean-up, including some innovative solutions. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference Oil Pollution 2004. Claims Handling and Clean-up Response, London, 15-16 March 2004. Lloyd's List Events, London, UK
Rodriquez, X.N. (2004). Effects of the oil spill from the Prestige on the environment and its subsequent regeneration. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference Oil Pollution 2004. Claims Handling and Clean-up Response, London, 15-16 March 2004. Lloyd's List Events, London, UK
Diagram from


CEDRE - Case History

International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds

International Maritime Organization (accessed through "Information Resources on Current Topics")

TASMAN SPIRIT (Pakistan, 2003)

The Maltese tanker TASMAN SPIRIT (87,584 DWT) grounded at the entrance to Karachi Port, Pakistan in the early hours of Sunday 27 July 2003. The vessel was carrying 67,800 tonnes of Iranian Light crude oil destined for the national refinery in Karachi. There were also 440 tonnes of heavy fuel oil in aft bunker tanks. The condition of the grounded tanker deteriorated as she was subjected to continuous stress from the heavy swell of the prevailing south-west monsoon and the vessel subsequently broke in two. In total, it is estimated that some 30,000 tonnes of oil was spilled from the TASMAN SPIRIT.
In the course of inspections on board the TASMAN SPIRIT it became apparent that most of the cargo tanks had been ruptured, whilst the bunker tanks remained intact. The owners appointed salvors and also hired a succession of small tankers and barges for the purpose of shuttling and storing oil lightered from the casualty. During the next few weeks roughly half of the crude oil cargo and most of the bunker fuel was successfully transferred from the casualty.
On 11 August the tanker began to show signs of breaking up and eventually broke in two overnight on 13/14 August, spilling several thousand tonnes of crude oil. Much of the spilled oil quickly stranded on Clifton Beach, the main tourist beach in Karachi, but significant quantities remained afloat both inside and outside Karachi port. Dispersants were applied offshore from a Hercules C-130 aircraft equipped with an aerial dispersant spraying system (ADDS Pack) in response to two distinct pollution events involving the progressive break-up of the tanker. Approval for large scale dispersant use was given by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency.
Oil entering the port of Karachi was confined by deploying booms at suitable collection sites, and in total some 140 tonnes of oil were recovered by skimmers. KPT also deployed vessels to apply dispersant on oil drifting through the port entrance.
The severe pollution of Clifton Beach created very strong oil vapours causing considerable discomfort to local residents and clean-up personnel. Local hospitals reported many cases of headaches, nausea and dizziness and seventeen schools in the vicinity were closed for about a week. The beach was cleaned by a combination of manual and mechanical means, but work was hampered by a lack of suitable disposal sites for collected oily waste. Agreement was eventually reached for disposal at one of the municipal waste sites serving Karachi City. Clifton Beach was re-opened to the public in the middle of October.
Given the low persistence of Iranian Light crude oil and the high mixing energy in the many damaged cargo tanks generated by the incessant heavy swell, it is likely that most of the spilled oil dispersed naturally. Field surveys conducted showed little or no impact on mangroves, salt pans and other sensitive resources in the vicinity. The geographical extent of shoreline oiling was limited to a ten-mile radius around the grounded tanker.
Whilst there were few reports of repercussions of the oil on fisheries, a three-month fishing ban was imposed by the Marine Fisheries Department along the coastline directly affected by oil, extending five nautical miles offshore.


CEDRE - Case History

SOLAR 1 (Philippines, 2006)

On 11th August 2006, the tanker SOLAR 1 (Philippine flag, 998 GT, 2,129 DWT, built 1989), chartered by Petron Corporation and carrying approximately 2,000 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil, encountered problems in rough seas and sank in the Guimaras Straits, some 10 nautical miles south of Guimaras Island, Republic of the Philippines. Two of the 20 crew members were lost at sea. 
A substantial, but at the time unknown, quantity of cargo was spilled when the vessel sank, and small quantities of oil continued to leak from the wreck in ever decreasing amounts.  Following an operation to remove the remaining oil from the sunken vessel in March 2007 it was found that virtually the entire cargo had been spilled at the time of the incident. 
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) led the response and was assisted by Petron Corporation with international support.   At-sea response focused on the application of chemical dispersants to the freshly released oil using aircraft and spray arms mounted on tugs and PCG patrol vessels.   Attempts were made to protect sensitive resources using conventional booms and a series of improvised booms made from banana leaves and similar material.   Shoreline clean-up was conducted for three months, overseen by the PCG and carried out by residents of the affected villages supported by Petron staff and a contractor hired by the shipowner.  It was undertaken using predominantly manual methods and primarily focused on sandy beaches on the south coast of Guimaras Island.   Collected oily waste was recycled at a cement plant on the island of Mindanao
About 125km of shoreline were contaminated to varying degrees on the south and south-west coasts of Guimaras Island and a number of small islets off the south-east coast.  This included approximiately 500 hectares of mangroves, which are particularly vulnerable to the smothering effects of oil.    The spill also had a major impact on the small-scale fisheries on Guimaras Island.  A number of fishpond operators, seaweed farmers and tourist businesses also suffered losses.
The SOLAR 1 was the first incident involving the Small Tanker Oil Pollution Indemnification Agreement (STOPIA 2006), a voluntary agreement among the P&I Clubs to increase the limitation amount applicable to a vessel under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention to 20 million SDR for all ships below 29,548 GT (the ‘small ship minimum’ under ’92 CLC is 4.51 million SDR for ships less than 5,000 GT).

Selected Bibliography

Parker, H., Moller, T. (2008). Sunken Oil and the Removal of Oil from Sunken Wrecks.  Paper presented at: 20th Triennial International Oil Spill Conference, Savannah, Georgia, May 4-8, 2008 
Yender, R.; Lloyd, A. (2008). Impacts and response challenges of the tanker SOLAR 1 oil spill, Guimaras, Philippines: Observations of international advisors. Paper presented at: 20th Triennial International Oil Spill Conference, Savannah, Georgia, May 4-8, 2008


CEDRE - Case History

International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds Annual Report 2007 (pp.106-115)

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