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Conclusions
Carpenter, A. (2016). Conclusions, in: Carpenter, A. (Ed.) Oil pollution in the North Sea. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, 41: pp. 283-306. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/698_2015_442
In: Carpenter, A. (Ed.) (2016). Oil pollution in the North Sea. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, 41. Springer: Heidelberg. ISBN 978-3-319-23900-2. xii, 312 pp., more
In: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Springer: Heidelberg. ISSN 1867-979X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Aerial surveillance; Beached bird surveys; BE-AWARE project; Bonn Agreement; Bonn-OSINet; COSIweb; European Maritime Safety Agency; European Union; MARPOL Convention; Oil installations; Oil spill monitoring; OSPAR Convention; OSPAR Quality Status Reports; PRF Directive; Satellite monitoring

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  • Carpenter, A.

Abstract
    This chapter examined Bonn Agreement annual statistics from aerial surveillance activities between 1986 and 2010 and examines the levels of flight hours for observed and confirmed oil spills in the North Sea. It also looks at the results of EMSA CleanSeaNet satellite imagery for the region between 2007 and 2011 for observed and confirmed spills. In terms of observed spills, there has been a significant decline in the numbers of spills and volume of oil entering the marine environment over more than two decades. This is also the case for discharges from oil and gas installations, where OSPAR Commission monitoring data identifies a very large fall in operational discharges from installations over the last decade in particular. The decadal OSPAR Quality Status Reports have also identified improvements in the region while identifying areas for further action in reducing oil inputs still further, especially from ageing oil and gas infrastructure. Projects such as Bonn Agreement BE-AWARE have mapped and identified the risk of oil pollution across the region, while Bonn-OSINet and COSIweb have resulted in improved methods to not only identify the make-up of an oil spill but also to increase the likelihood of matching samples from a spill to samples from potential sources. Beached bird surveys also provide a tool in monitoring not only the impacts of large spills from accidents but also levels of chronic oil pollution in coastal and offshore areas. The results of investigations into oil pollution in the waters of Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany are discussed, while an examination of the legal structure for monitoring and dealing with oil pollution in UK waters is presented. Legislative measures such as the MARPOL Convention, EU Directive on Port Reception Facilities and national legislation have contributed to a reduction in oil being discharged through operational activities from ships, while accidental spills have also been reduced as a result of better vessel standards and improved traffic management in the southern and eastern North Sea. While illegal discharges continue to present a problem and there remains a need to reduce pollution in offshore areas, it is clear that there has been a significant improvement in the state of the North Sea in terms of oil over several decades.

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