Marine spill risk

Photo: COWI

COWI leads the field of analysing marine spill risks and optimising emergency procedures.

The intensity of shipping activities has increased dramatically in the last decades. In particular, shipping of oil products and hazardous substances has become concentrated in a number of restricted waterways. The risk of spills of oil and hazardous substances has become an increasingly concern in countries adjacent to congested shipping lanes.

COWI is presently the only consultant group in the world providing comprehensive services for the analysis of risks and formulation of emergency procedures.

Hot spots for risk of oil spill

COWI has developed advanced tools for the modelling of shipping traffic flows based on AIS registrations. The corresponding risks of accidents at sea and their consequences are modelled applying state of the art accident models. The accidents are separated into groundings, collisions at intersections and accidents during overtaking and head-on collisions. The analysis systematically identifies the "hot spots" along the main shipping routes where accidents are most likely to occur.

Mapping of environmentally sensitive areas

COWI guides the mapping of areas which are environmentally sensitive to spills of oil and hazardous substances. The mapping is carried out by the participating countries using a common methodology developed by COWI.

The areas are graded into levels of sensitivity and paired with the areas of impact by oil or hazardous substances. This results in a map of environmental damage which can also be used to compute future scenarios. The effect of risk reducing measures and the effect of oil collection by the response vessels is included.

Emergency response agreements

COWI's knowledge of the risks and the likely magnitude of spills provide a common basis for the participating countries to develop bi-lateral and multi-lateral emergency response agreements. Such agreements stipulate that the countries will inform and assist each other in the case of spills and set out rules covering the leading of response operations, equipment, joint exercises and reimbursement of costs incurred during assistance.

LAST UPDATED: 02.12.2016