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Types of oil spills and primary causes

ITOPF published a Handbook, containing valuable information and guidance for those likely to be involved in oil spills, chemicals or other substances from ships. The 2019/20 edition has been fully revised, introducing new graphics, further information on ITOPF’s technical services and a brand new section on different types of marine spills.

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ITOPF reports two large oil spills in 2017

The first large spill occurred in June, when the 'Rama 2' sank in the Indian Ocean with over 5000 tonnes of oil onboard. The second incident concerned the sinking of Agia Zhoni II off the coast of Greece in September, spilling about 700 tonnes of oil. The number of large spills decreased significantly over the last few decades and since 2010 averages 1.8 per year.

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Trends in oil spills from tankers

 ITOPF presented earlier this year at INTERSPILL conference a poster which depicts the trends in oil spills from tankers over the past ten years (2005-2014) ITOPF maintains a database of recorded oil spills from tankers, combined carriers and barges. This contains information on accidental spillages since 1970, except those resulting from acts of war.Information is gathered from a wide variety of sources, including published material, such as the shipping press and other specialist publications, vessel owners and their insurers, and from ITOPF's own activities on site at incidents.Whilst it is useful to observe the long term trends since 1970, it may also be beneficial to analyse more recent data for shorter term trends. ITOPF analysed the period 2005 to 2014, making comparisons between the first five year period 2005-2009 and the second five year period 2010-2014. ITOPF's poster presents the results of an analysis of various aspects of incident informati on for tanker spills seven tonnes and over within the past ten years (2005-2014). Factors used to identi fy trends include:• number of spills• quanti ty of oil spilled• types of oil spilled• operati ons of tankers and causes of spills• locati ons of spillsKey issues ● Notable trends can be seen when comparing ...

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Oil Spills in Ice Covered Waters

Filming has begun on ITOPF's new production "Oil Spills in Ice Covered Waters". This film will consider the strategies employed to deal with spills in some of the most challenging conditions on the planet. ITOPF and the production team travelled north of the Arctic Circle to Svalbard and to Lulea in Northern Sweden in January and February to film in the harsh climate and remote locations that can pose special challenges for spill response. In the Arctic, as well as other icy waters, clean-up techniques that work elsewhere need to be modified to ensure that they are effective. This film will review the response strategies available, and the factors that need to be taken into account in implementing them. We will feature the scientists at the forefront of research into the fate and behaviour of oil in ice and the refinement of methods used to minimise impacts. The film will also show ITOPF staff as they train in preparation for operating in harsh Arctic conditions. The film is scheduled for release in Spring 2016, but in the meantime, view a trailer. The 2 minute clip gives a flavour of what will be a visual treat as well as a succinct ...

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New 5-year low in tanker oil spills

Half-way into this decade and the downward trend in oil spills from tankers is sustained. For the last two and a half decades the average number of incidents involving oil spills from tankers has progressively halved, with the current figures showing the lowest yet, at less than 2 per year. At a time when focus on protecting the marine environment is high, this trend should provide encouragement to tanker owners. It is also a testament to the ongoing work by industry and governments to maintain high standards of operations in sea-borne transportation. During the year, ITOPF recorded 1 large spill of bitumen (~3,000 MT) from a tanker in the South China Sea, and 4 medium spills of various oil types, totalling 5 spills of 7 tonnes and over. Interestingly, a number of tanker incidents reported in the media in 2014 involved fire and explosion, where potentially significant quantities of cargoes and bunker fuel burned. The cargoes involved included condensate, diesels and fuel oils. Major Oil Spills A brief summary of the top 20 major oil spills that have occurred since the TORREY CANYON in 1967 are shown below; it is of note that 19 of the largest spills recorded occurred before ...

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EMSA Workshop on HNS Response

ITOPF participated in the EMSA HNS workshop, held last month at EMSA headquarters in Lisbon and chaired by Berndt Bluhm, Head of Unit, Pollution Response at EMSA. A total of 28 delegates from EU Member States were present as well as nine representatives from industry (BASF, DOW Chemicals, CEDRE, CEFIC, Braemar Howells, ISU (International Salvage Union) and ITOPF). The workshop aimed to highlight the key challenges for HNS response from the point of view of the national government agencies, the chemical and salvage industries and R&D institutions. The workshop was also an opportunity for the various delegations to exchange information on recent developments in the field of HNS incident response in their respective countries, as well as progress with on-going projects, such as ARCOPOL, BE AWARE and MAR-ICE Network. The workshop also sought to familiarise the participants with the information services in place, such as MAR-ICE, and to understand their value and limitations. The workshop centred around a table top exercise with two realistic scenarios run in parallel (one container ship and one bulk carrier) which enabled Member States to evaluate how prepared they are for a significant HNS spill and to take their findings back to their respective government ...

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