Documents & Guides

Explore a variety of topics about marine spills, response and compensation matters in the pages below.

Each topic and area of interest provides access to more detailed documentation that is freely downloadable.

This includes our 17 Technical Information Papers which are fully illustrated with photos and diagrams and are available in several languages. 


What happens to oil in the marine environment over time when spilled at sea? How do different factors such as volume and physical and chemical properties affect the fate of oil spills? 


How does oil impact seabirds, plankton, sea mammals and the shoreline?  


Which industries might suffer temporary economic losses and loss of market confidence?


What are the specific chemical response strategies for responding to a Hazardous and Noxious Substance spill, and what are the potential effects on human and marine life? 


What information is needed for an effective oil spill contingency plan? How can aerial observation and protective strategies assist with response operations? 


What techniques are available for cleaning up oil at sea and on the shoreline?


What planning and waste management systems need to be put in place to reduce the volume of oily waste for treatment or disposal?


What legal arrangements and sources of compensation are available for a spill from a ship?

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TIP 07: Clean-up of oil from shorelines

This paper describes commonly used shoreline clean-up techniques and provides advice on which are best suited to each stage of operations for a range of different shoreline types.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Response Techniques

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TIP 06: Recognition of oil on shorelines

In cases of large spills, the source of stranded oil may be obvious, but the question of identification frequently arises when a small amount of oil is involved and compensation is sought for damage or clean-up costs. The purpose of this paper is to assist the reader in recognising both the type and quantity of oil on differing shorelines.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Response Techniques, Planning & operations

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TIP 05: Use of skimmers in oil pollution response

This paper describes the fundamental requirements for the successful use of skimmers in the situations most likely to be encountered during an oil spill and should be read in conjunction with other ITOPF papers in this series, in particular, on the use of booms, shoreline clean-up techniques and the disposal of oil.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Response Techniques, Containment & Recovery, Planning & operations

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TIP 04: Use of dispersants to treat oil spills

This paper provides an overview of the use and limitations of dispersants on floating oil, as one of a range of options available for response to ship-source marine oil spills.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Response Techniques, Dispersants

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TIP 03: Use of booms in oil pollution response

This paper describes the principles of boom design and the two main modes of operation, namely towing by vessels at sea and mooring in shallow or inshore waters.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Response Techniques, Containment & Recovery, Planning & operations

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TIP 02: Fate of marine oil spills

This paper describes the combined effects of the various natural processes acting on spilled oil, collectively known as ‘weathering’. Factors which determine whether or not the oil is likely to persist in the marine environment are considered together with the implications for response operations.

Categories: Technical Information Paper (TIPS) , Fate of Oil Spills

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Bulk cargo hold wash water discharge and cargo declarations under MARPOL Annex V

As of 1st January 2013, amendments to MARPOL Annex V mean that shippers have new responsibilities regarding cargo classification and how it affects the ability of the crew to discharge hold wash water into the marine environment

Categories: Technical Advisory Paper (TAPS)

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