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 18 Technical Information Papers which are fully illustrated with photos and diagrams and are available in several languages.
What legal arrangements and sources of compensation are available for a spill from a ship?
What planning and waste management systems need to be put in place to reduce the volume of oily waste for treatment or disposal?
How does oil impact seabirds, plankton, sea mammals and the shoreline?
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?
Which industries might suffer temporary economic losses and loss of market confidence?
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?
What techniques are available for cleaning up oil at sea and on the shoreline?
The ultimate aim of any oil recovery operation at sea is to collect as much floating oil as is reasonably and economically possible. However, a review of past spills shows that rarely is more than 10% of spilled oil recovered from the sea surface. Although many methods of mechanical containment and recovery exist, each has its own limitations which affect the overall success of a recovery operation.
Experience has shown that the most time-consuming and costly component of a response to an oil spill is often the treatment or disposal of collected waste. The amount of waste generated is dependent on many factors, some which may be controlled more readily during the response.
DISCOBIOL: Assessment of the impact of dispersant use for oil spill response in coastal or estuarine areas (2014)
The DISCOBIOL research program aims to provide practical recommendations on dispersant use in coastal and estuarine areas by acquiring relevant (in terms of likely dispersed oil concentrations) and robust experimental information on the impact of mechanically and chemically dispersed oil on living resources.
This paper discusses the meaning of “international standards” for oil spill response in the context of remote operations. Practical examples are drawn from remote spills world-wide, including incidents in Tristan da Cunha, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.
What defines a successful response? Is it dependent upon satisfying potential critics? Does it depend on money saved or spent? Is it defined by avoiding or mitigating pollution damage? Or is it all of these things?
These publications represent a consensus of industry and government viewpoints, the content of which
has been peer reviewed by experts from around the world, through both the IMO’s Marine Environment
Protection Committee, the IPIECA Oil Spill Working Group, and the OGP Environment Committee.
International responsibilities: Are we our brothers' Keeper? Oil spill preparedness and response: The role of industry (1997)
Government and the shipping and oil industries have invested heavily in creating and maintaining expensive oil spill response systems against a background of decreasing numbers of intermediate and major oil spills worldwide.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC Convention) defines the basic elements for co-operation between government and industry in marine pollution response. This paper reviews the current status of the partnership between government and industry for dealing with spills arising from the transportation of oil by sea.