Risk Analysis of Marine Activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea
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The main goal of this project is to carry out a risk analysis of all relevant and credible incidents regarding commercial shipping with environmental damage to the Belgian part of the sea, the coast or the beaches due to human activities.

This general goal is translated into several specific objectives.

  1. Identify and analyse the different methods for Risk analysis and the kind of information they deliver as well as the use that can be made of this information.
  2. Identify and analyse relevant incidents regarding commercial shipping, that may lead to environmental damage to the Belgian part of the sea, the coast and the beaches. This will be carried out on the basis of an incident analysis and an analysis of probability of the occurrence of incidents. (DNV)
  3. Estimate the risk by assessing the probability of occurrence and the potential impact of the different defined incidents and describe the effects of the incidents.
  4. Classify the different identified incidents according to their risk level and study the highest risk incident scenarios more extensively.
  5. Formulate recommendations or proposals to improve the safety level for the environment and to optimise the responses in the framework of the Belgian North Sea Disaster Plan.
  6. Translate the results of the project towards potential end users.
Key words: risk analysis, North Sea Disaster Plan, shipping activities, effect analysis, sensitivity analysis, incident analysis, probability of occurrence of incidents, hazardous substances, ecosystems, human activities at sea.

Picture: M. Decleer Picture: M. Decleer Picture: VLIZ

Risk analysis

Risk analysis is necessary as a basis for assessing the adequacy of preparedness and the required capability to deal with identified risks. It consists of:

North Sea Disaster Plan

Response to an incident at sea should be as rapidly and effectively as possible to minimise the risk to human life and to the environment. If an environmental incident occurs at sea, the 'North Sea Disaster Plan' (KB 19/04/2005), presided by the Governor of Western Flanders, is activated.

The ‘North Sea Disaster Plan’ is a contingency plan that is delineating an entire national preparedness and response system including both public and private resources, for response to emergencies resulting in or which can result in the spillage of oil and other hazardous substances into the marine environment or in the evacuation of people. It contains brief definitions, descriptions and instructions, outlining national policy concerning accidental marine pollution preparedness and response & rescue operations and clearly reflecting provisions of the legal document giving statutory framework for setting up the national system for preparedness and response.

The Belgian Navy's operational command centre (COMOPSNAV) in Zeebruges is the international contact point according to the procedures described according to the Bonn Agreement. International emergency messages are transmitted to the MRCC (Marine Rescue & Coordination Centre) in Ostend. Any commercial ship or aircraft, Navy vessel or Air Force craft which has spotted a slick in the Belgian zone must report this to the authorities.

Supported by
the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office

General coordination: Bart De Wachter
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