To carry or not to carry? Onboard spill response equipment - Is it practicable? (1998)

22 May 2014


Tim Wadsworth

The question as to whether oil tankers should carry oil spill response equipment onboard has been the subject of debate for many years. The idea received considerable attention in the previous decade during the preparation of regulations by the United States Coast Guard as a result of the US Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA'90). In this instance, and after much debate, the resultant US requirement stipulated the carriage of limited equipment for small on-deck spills only and not equipment to respond to a spill of oil into the sea.

In some circles there is still the perception that the carriage of 'over-the-side' spill response equipment on tankers might promote a quicker and easier clean-up of any spilled oil. However, despite the attraction of the immediate availability of resources at the scene of the incident, there are many reasons why the carriage of boom, skimmers and other on water spill response equipment is neither practical nor likely to achieve a better response.

Categories: Papers , Response Techniques, Planning & operations