Alternative Oil Recovery Code for UK
In 1996, the UK Marine Safety Agency published the Code of Practice for Vessels Engaged in Oil Recovery Operations, also known as the 'Black Code', ISBN: 0-11-551811-8. This Code addressed the provisions considered necessary for Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs) when engaged in the task of oil recovery in the event of an accidental spill. The Black Code is now being withdrawn to allow ship owners themselves to shoulder more responsibility.
The prescriptive requirements placed on operators of oil recovery vessels in the Black Code have the potential to be counterproductive to the intended outcome of recovering oil after a spill. The reasoning behind this decision is outlined in detail in the attached annex.
Withdrawing the Code eases the mandatory provisions in favour of an improved risk-based approach, and is an opportunity for sensible safety and marine pollution control measures in what may be difficult and ill-defined circumstances.For the oil to be recovered and the process by which that oil will be managed from recovery to disposal, it is necessary to rely upon a risk-based approach. The offshore sector places responsibility on the operator to have in place a Risk Management System to cover all identified risks. The Port Marine Safety Code, ISBN: 978-1-84864-035-1, places responsibility on port authorities and managers to have in place a Safety Management System supported by risk assessment and risk management. This Code requires harbour authorities, under the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (the OPRC Regulations, SI 1998/1056) to prepare an Oil Pollution Emergency Plan to respond to oil spills in their waters.
Ship operators are required to assess and manage all identified risks. Larger ships have a statutory obligation through the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention (the ISM Code), implemented in the United Kingdom by the Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations 1998, SI 1998/1561), and all vessels have statutory responsibilities arising from the Merchant Shipping (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/2962). A model for the safety management of vessels under 500GT is the Domestic Safety Management system, described in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN1754 and Marine Guidance Note MGN158. Although this system is applicable to passenger ships under the Merchant Shipping (Domestic Passenger Ships) (Safety Management Code) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/3209), it can also be applied on a practical level of safety management to smaller vessels.
Vessels used for oil recovery which rely on shipboard pumps and stowage should, where appropriate, be Classed and remain in Class with one of the UK authorised Recognised Organisations, with the notation 'oil recovery service' (or equivalent), MGN 322 refers. These would normally be vessels of over 24 metres in length, greater therefore in size than those subject to the MCA Small Commercial
Vessel Codes which remain appropriate for vessels operating portable pumps and discharging collected residues into independent free-floating tanks.Failure to have in place, and effectively operate, a risk management system would be a breach of the Merchant Shipping Regulations, i.e. requirement to identify risks, carry out risk assessments, and appropriate surveillance. In the event of an accident to a vessel or person the companies/employers may also be subject to a claim of liability.
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor Thursday, 15 September 2011
Britain is abandoning its first line of defence against oil tanker pollution disasters, four ocean-going tugs stationed around the coastline to help vessels in distress.
The four tugs, put in place as a result of the calamitous oil spill from the tanker Braer, which ran aground in Shetland in 1993, are to come out of service in a fortnight as part of the Government's public spending cuts.
The move, which will save £8m a year – vastly less than the cost of dealing with any major oil spill – goes against the clear recommendations of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and is being described by concerned MPs as "inviting disaster".
The Government hopes that commercial tug operators will fill the gap when needed, but there is great concern that while this may happen in the Channel and the Southwest Approaches, it will be impossible in Scotland's Northern and Western Isles – which are both the most environmentally sensitive waters around Britain and the most dangerous to shipping.
The four tugs, or emergency towing vessels (ETVs), have been stationed since 1995, at public expense, in four zones around Britain: the Dover Strait, the Southwest Approaches, the Minches (the Hebrides) and Fair Isle (the Shetland Islands).
They are sturdy vessels, much stronger than harbour or coastal tugs, fitted with powerful towing gear which enables them to take even the largest supertankers under control.
They were put in place after a direct recommendation from Lord Donaldson in his report on the grounding of the Braer on the Shetland coast in January 1993, which saw nearly 85,000 tonnes of oil spilled and the mass deaths of seabirds.
The Donaldson report was a savage indictment of Britain's failure to address properly the danger of severe coastal pollution from oil tankers, and prompted a shake-up of emergency arrangements – of which the stationing of the ETVs was the most prominent measure.
Since Lord Donaldson's recommendations, three further reports have emphasised the value of and need for the tugs, the most recent written for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2008.
Produced by the consultancy Marico Marine, it stated: "The United Kingdom appears to have little option but to continue its involvement in the contracting of emergency towing vessels.
"Lack of capability within the commercial tug and towage sector (in effect, market failure), European Union obligations and societal expectations (zero tolerance of major marine environmental incidents) combine to dictate the need for this contingent capability."
It added: "In cost benefit terms, averting one major shipping disaster and environmental incident of the scale of the Prestige [the oil tanker which broke up off the coast of Spain in 2002] would justify a contract price far in excess of that currently being paid until its expiry in 2011 and beyond."
However, the Department for Transport believes otherwise, and as part of the comprehensive spending review from the Chancellor, George Osborne, last October, announced that government funding for the vessels would be withdrawn when the present contract expires at the end of this month.
"The Government believes state provision of ETVs does not represent a correct use of taxpayers' money, and that ship salvage should be a commercial matter between a ship's operator and the salvor," the department said.
Since then, despite vehement protests, especially from MPs and local authorities in Scotland, and from the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, the department – in the shape of the Maritime Minister, Mike Penning – has remained deaf to all appeals to rethink the decision.
"It is completely crazy," said Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South. "It is incredibly irresponsible to be without these emergency vessels, even for a day. I sympathise with the need to look after the public purse, but that cannot come before lives and before the environment. This is a very dangerous game the Department for Transport is playing."
During large oil spill events it can be difficult at short notice to find ships for the recovery of oil at sea. Here are a few countries approach to this problem.
Maritime transport is of fundamental importance to
The Agency's main objective is to provide technical and scientific assistance to the European Commission and
It is hard to believe that the main problem in many countries is they have the equipment and the vessels but do not have the storage capacity on the vessels for recovered oil. This has and will cause time wasting when the oil spill event happens. It is very rare to carry out a training exercise with booms and skimmers where the recovered water in this case is pumped into a tank rather that overboard.
With the EMSA systems as can be seen below the vessels have good sized storage capacity to deal with large oil spills. These vessels work normally but are contracted to assist should there be an incident in their area. In other words apart from the "Aktea" they are not dedicated oil spill response vessels (OSRV’s).
Network of Stand-by Oil Spill Response Vessles link: EMSA
EMSA's area of ol spill response is shown on the map below:
Lenght: 78,91 m (over all)
Breath: 18,63 m (over all)
Draught: 5,79 m (max)
Power (kw): 5800 kW plus 2600 kW
Max speed: 14,0 knots
Min crew: 16 men
Capability description: Oil recovery vessel
Chemical recovery vessel
Emergency tug (1.100 kN pulling power)
Ice breaker Booms: See "Mechanical recovery equipment" Pumps:
Oil storage capacity: 1.000 m3 tank space (920 m3 for a.m. chemicals) Dispersant capacity: None Other special capacity:
Coastguard vessel Neuwerk was used during Sea Empress 1996, Erika 1999 and Presitge 2002
Here are two of the Marine Spill Response Corp (MSRC) vessels the New Jersey Responder(left) the Hawaii Responder (right). All of the responder vessels are built to the same specification, she is a 210 foot ocean-going tug, equipped as an oil spill responder, capable of towing distressed tankers, and handling oil-spill containment equipment. She even has a helicopter landing pad on the rear deck. Seen here at her home
Here are 3 Response vessels on permenant charter covering the coast of Brasil for Petrobras