EMSA issued the latest “Inventory of national policies regarding the use of oil spill dispersants in the EU”. EMSA is tasked by Regulation (EC) No 2038/2006 to “draw up on a regular basis a list of the private and state pollution response mechanisms and response capabilities in the various regions of the European Union”. In order to fulfil this task of providing accurate and up to date information in the EU and EFTA coastal Member States with regard to dispersants, EMSA contacts the respective Member States and prepares specific inventories such as the Inventory of national policies regarding the use of oil spill dispersants in the EU Member States.
This inventory contains information for each Member State regarding:
- the national rules and regulations for usage of oil spill dispersants as an at-sea oil spill response method
- the testing and approval procedures for dispersants
- the equipment and stockpiles for dispersant
- application, including geographic information system (GIS) based maps.
Once oil has been spilled at sea, the primary goal of any response action is to mitigate the socio-economic and environmental impact by removing the spilled oil from the water surface as quickly as possible. The purpose of oil spill dispersants is to transfer the oil from the sea surface – in the form of very small droplets and subsequent dilution into a very large volume of water – which facilitates the natural biodegradation process. When used in an appropriate and timely manner, dispersants can remove a significant amount of oil from the water surface, which reduces the risk of oiling of sea birds and mammals as well as shorelines. However, the potential risk of using dispersants is that marine organisms will be exposed to higher levels of dispersed oil (and soluble components from the dispersed oil) than they would have been if dispersants had not been used. The degree of harm that might be suffered by marine organisms exposed to dispersed oil is a function of exposure conditions (dispersed oil concentration, duration of exposure and the rate of dispersion and dilution), plus the inherent sensitivity of the particular organism to dispersed oil.
You can read the “Inventory of National Policies Regarding the Use of Oil Spill Dispersants in the EU Member States 2014” by clicking on the image below:
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