In a busy sea, where 2,000 ships are navigating at any given time, the risk of shipwreck increases along with the risk of large-scale oil spills. COWI prepared a risk assessment of this scenario for the Baltic Sea protection organisation Helcom – a unique assessment because it evaluates the risk for one specific sea, using the same method across borders throughout the region.
"We are the first to analyse and address the entire chain of processes – from sailing ships to dead swans," says Carsten Jürgensen, Chief Project Manager in COWI's Water and Environment business unit.
The BRISK project as it is called (Sub-regional risk of spill of oil and hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea), covers many aspects and includes every possible outcome, stipulating probabilities regarding traffic density, type of accident, wind conditions, seasons, extent of spill, emergency services, environmental impact and much more.
A model for different scenarios
Tackling this many outcomes in an analysis is quite a challenge, which is why COWI simplified the results in a model, allowing you to 'push different buttons' (i.e. the assumptions), thereby calculating the consequences of changes.
"The model allows us to formulate scenarios such as changes to traffic, new routes and improved emergency services and see the resulting effects straight away. The method we applied throughout the region was also approved by all the countries involved, giving us a way to create a common starting point," says Jürgensen. For three years, he has worked on the report with a team of highly specialised experts from different disciplines and departments in COWI.
Baltic traffic is expected to increase by 63 per cent from 2003 to 2020, so there are plenty of reasons to review the risk hotspots identified in COWI's analysis. As we speak, Helcom is looking into these hotspots and the most cost-effective responses identified by COWI.
Based on this analysis, Helcom will provide recommendations to the Baltic national authorities on how to reduce risks.
By Birgitte Theresia Henriksen email@example.com.