ITOPF statistics demonstrate that the majority of ship-source oil spills occur close to the coast. Since activities to combat floating oil at sea are typically limited by time, weather or other constraints, actions taken to prevent oil reaching shorelines may only be partially successful. When oil does reach the shoreline, considerable effort may be required to clean affected areas. It is therefore essential that comprehensive and well rehearsed arrangements for shoreline clean-up are included in contingency plans.
The techniques available for shoreline clean-up are relatively straightforward and do not normally require specialised equipment. However, inappropriate techniques and inadequate organisation can aggravate the damage caused by the oil itself.
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.