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TIP 06: Recognition of oil on shorelines
19 May 2014
The arrival of oil on the shore may be the first indication of an oil pollution incident. Depending on the quantity and type of oil involved, a clean-up response may have to be organised to remove the oil and to prevent it remobilising and affecting sensitive areas nearby. A reliable early report and estimate of the extent of the pollution can prove invaluable in determining the appropriate scale of the clean-up operation and organising adequate manpower and equipment to meet the task. Estimating the amount of stranded oil with accuracy is difficult and even identifying the type of oil can be a problem, particularly if the oil has weathered extensively.
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.