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Annual analysis of pollutant spills:
sea and coastal areas

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The analyses presented have been produced from an inventory of spills:

  • known to Cedre (non-exhaustive list)
  • having occurred worldwide
  • in marine or fresh surface waters
  • involving oil, hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) and other products, solid cargos (minerals, grain), liquid cargos (slurry...).

Cases of spills greater than or equal to 10 tonnes, for which sufficient information was available for statistical analysis, were extracted from this inventory for the purpose of this analysis.


1. Spills and their location worldwide



In 2007, 30 spills were recorded by Cedre worldwide.


In 2008, 29 spills were recorded by Cedre worldwide.



In 2009, 36 spills were recorded by Cedre worldwide.


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2. Proportion of spills at sea, in coastal areas and in ports


In 2007, Cedre recorded 30 spills, the majority of which were at sea (over half) and in coastal areas (around 37%).


In 2008, Cedre recorded 29 spills, the majority of which were at sea and in coastal areas (around 40% in each case), and a minority in ports.


In 2009, Cedre recorded 36 spills, of which half were at sea, the rest in coastal areas (around 28%) and in ports (around 19%).

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3. Quantities spilt at sea, in coastal areas and in ports


The total volume of oil and HNS spilt in 2007 in marine waters was 26,203 tonnes. This estimation is roughly in line with those obtained using the same methods in 2005 and 2004 (24,840 t - 30,560 t), and a little lower than 2006 (35,320 t), for a slightly higher number of spills (and therefore smaller in volume on average). The highest total volume of spills at sea and in coastal areas was in 2007, with respectively 53% and 44% of the total volume, while spills in ports involved smaller volumes.


The total volume of oil and HNS spilt in marine waters in 2008 was 7,500 tonnes. This value is far lower than that observed in 2007 (around twenty spills a year between 2004 and 2006). The greatest volumes spilt are recorded at sea and in coastal areas, with respectively 59% and 36% of the total volume, and only a minor proportion of spills in ports and harbours (5%).

The total volume of oil and HNS spilt in marine waters in 2009 was 54,700 tonnes. This estimation is far higher than that obtained in 2008 (<10,000 t), and higher than the mean annual total expressed for the period 2004-2007 (around 30,000 tonnes). This is due to a few spills of several thousand tonnes, in particular the accident involving the chemical tanker Granba, the eruption in Montara oil field, and the grounding of the Gülser Ana. The largest volumes spilt were recorded in coastal areas, then in marine waters for respectively 75% and 25% of the total volume. Spills in ports made up only a very minor part of the total volume (< 1%).

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Contents

1. Spills and their location worldwide 2007 - 2008 - 2009
2. Proportion of spills at sea, in coastal areas and in ports
2007 - 2008 - 2009
3. Quantities spilt at sea, in coastal areas and in ports 2007 - 2008 - 2009
4. Type of products spilt 2007 - 2008 - 2009
5. Quantities spilt by type of pollutant 2007 - 2008 - 2009






4. Type of products spilt


The most frequently spilt products (41% of spills) in 2007 were various IFO grade fuels (intermediate to heavy). Crude oils held second place in terms of frequency, with 27% of spills. The other oil products encountered were white oil then unspecified oil products. Three significant spills of chemicals were recorded, involving respectively sulphur, methyl methacrylate and fertiliser (potassium chloride, ammonium phosphate and potassium and ammonium double sulphate).


The most frequently spilt products in 2008 were white oil products, involved in 35% of spills. Different IFOs (intermediate to heavy) were involved in 31% of spills. The frequency of spills involving crude oils was 28%. The year was marked by a low frequency of significant chemical spills, of which there were two (respectively toluene and endosulfan).


The most frequently spilt products (48% of cases) in accidents recorded in 2009 were various IFOs (intermediate to heavy). Spills of white oil products came second (16% of cases), at a comparable frequency to that of crude oil spills (14% of accidents). Mineral oils were involved in 9% of cases. The year was marked by a relatively low occurrence of spills involving non-oil products.

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5. Quantities spilt by pollutant type


Crude oils represented 66% of the total volume spilt in 2007, the majority being due to 2 spills of several thousand tonnes in December (those of the Hebei Spirit and the Statfjord A rig), and 2 spills close to a thousand tonnes (oil terminal Maasvlakte, Rotterdam and offshore loading terminal in Panama). Different IFOs (intermediate to heavy) contributed to around 10% of the total volume spilt during the year, of which almost half was due to the only oil tanker spill involving the Volgoneft 139 (Kerch Strait). Unspecified oils, like white oils, made up less than 1% of the volume spilt during the year. With one spill (Kerch Strait) of 6,000 tonnes, sulphur showed the second largest volume of pollutant spilt in 2007 (23% in total). This was the largest chemical spill of the year, followed by two spills, one of 20 tonnes of methyl methacrylate during the unloading of a container in the port of Kwai Chung (Hong Kong) and the other of 125 tonnes of fertiliser (potassium chloride, ammonium phosphate and potassium and ammonium double sulphate) due to a barge accident in Martinique.


Crude oils were dominant in 2008, representing around 80% of the overall total. This quantity was mainly made up of 2 major spills from oil platforms, which occurred in February (over 3,000 tonnes from an offshore loading buoy off the coast of Angola) and in September (destruction of coastal and offshore installations by Hurricane Ike in Texas and Louisiana). We also note 2 spills estimated at over 100 m3, one in January at a terminal in Copenhagen (Denmark), and the other in July from a single point mooring off the coast of Skikda (Algeria).
The proportion of different IFOs (intermediate to heavy) for 2008 was around 12% of the total annual volume spilt, of which over half was due to a spill of bunker fuel from a refinery in France in March, in addition to which we mainly find 2 spills of over 100 tonnes of bunker fuel from cargo vessels. White oil products represent around 7% of the total quantity spilt in 2008, the majority of which (around 70%) was due to 2 vessel collisions involving 300m3 of gasoline and 200m3 of diesel respectively. They year was marked by a small proportion of chemical spills, of which there were two, of around ten tonnes each. One was a 13m3 spill of toluene in San Pablo Bay (California) from a chemical plant, and the other was caused by an accident involving a ferry in the Philippines and the sinking of several drums containing over 10m3 of pesticides, mainly endosulfan (these soluble products were however almost entirely recovered in October 2008 according to statements by the Philippine authorities published in the press).


While the year was marked by a low occurrence of spills of non-oil products, such spills involved large volumes. The first of these accidents resulted in the dissolution of the Gülser Ana’s entire cargo of phosphorite in the coastal waters of southern Madagascar, representing alone over 70% of the total tonnage of spills recorded in 2009. Two other cases involved large volumes of chemicals, in particular sulphuric acid for 12% of the total following the sinking of a chemical tanker off the coast of Sri Lanka. As for oil, crude oil spills represented 10% of volume spilt during the year, the majority of which (90%) was due to a spill from an offshore well in the Timor Sea. Different IFOs represented around 4% of the total quantity spilt in 2009. The other products involved (white oil products, mineral oils) represented only a very small fraction (< 1%) of the year’s spills.

 

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Last update: 12/05/2011

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