Oil spill response with Clewat´s vessels

Marine litter, harmful vegetation and oil is collected with Clewat´s multipurpose vessels. Most attention is paid to the plastic problems of the seas but also consequences of oil accidents are long lasting and difficult.

The world´s current energy system is highly depended on shipping. For example, about half of the crude oil produced in 2010, was transported by ships from production sites to users. Almost half of the international shippings are made because of transporting of energy sources. Oil is still globally the most important energy source, and despite the renewable sources, its production is still growing until 2045.

Crude oil and petroleum products are transported to users with crude oil tankers and product tankers. These aren´t anyway the only threat for environment, but also the cargo ships may leak oil to water systems. However, double hull vessels are slowly replacing single hull vessels in transporting, which reduces the risks of accidents.

Oil accidents on the sea

The more traffic on the sea, the bigger are the risks. The Gulf of Finland is one the most busiest sea areas in the world and Russian´s oil export has increased the transport. In many countries, also in Finland, is prepared for oil spills by acquiring oil spill response equipment. According to independent evaluations (Transport Canada), traditional collecting methods are not particularly good – and their inoperability is accentuated in challenging coastal conditions and with the fuels complying with the new regulations.

Right now a significant change is taking place in marine fuels with the new MARPOL-2020 environmental regulations. The director of Gazprom Neft, Alexei Medevedev, estimated to Marine Fleet-magazine this change in a following way: “According to expert estimates, new environmental requirements will significantly change the structure of the marine fuels market. If earlier the share of dark oil products was about 70 %, then in the coming years it will decrease to approximately 15-20%.”

In accidents, it ends up in nature, what fuel is used and transported on vessels. Oil spill response equipment must be able to respond to these new threats. When accident happens at ship, Marine Gas Oil (MGO), a light fuel oil, will most likely end up to water. The vessels of Clewat are at their best with this kind of oil. In water accidents, also booming is important – it limits and prevents the oils from spreading and enriches it to a better collectable layer thickness. Modern fuel oils also aim to influence to sulfur and other emission of the ships.

Oil accidents on land

Accidents don´t always happen on the sea. In Siberia, Russia, an oil tank was fallen on the land spreading oil to nature, when permafrost under it started to melt. This case was not the only one. Often the reason for Russian oil accidents are oil pipes in poor condition, and the local environmental monitoring don´t really care about them.

In Mexico´s oil accident 2010 a leaking oil source plunged crude oil to the land for several days. The reason for the accident was explosion of oil platform. Finally to nature ended up oil for about 87 days, because they couldn´t successfully block the leaking point.

There are also oil accidents on road, if the truck, which is transporting oil, falls, but the environmental damages are luckily smaller. Besides the land containers of industrial plants are a risk, because they are full of oil and if they break up or fall, oil will spread to the nature.

Effective oil spill response

Preventing oil spills looks suddenly simple: let´s repair the oil pipelines and ensure that there is no oil spills from the oil-transporting vessels. However, these efforts are not always invested in, or are not enough. So it is important that there will be oil spill vessels quickly available, if an accident happens.

The multipurpose vessel of Clewat helps also with oil spill response. At other times it can be used for collecting plastic and harmful vegetation. In oil spill the capacity of our vessel is even 16 500 l/h with the speed of one knot. As the use of oil is still increasing, we must continue to be prepared for the oil spill also in the future!

Katja Vaulio

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