Decanting of settled-out water during skimming operations at sea


ISCO is working on a proposal to make it easier for response vessels to decant settled-out water.


The frustration experienced by responders was recently expressed by an internationally respected oil spill response expert – “It’s crazy when the sea is covered with oil as far as you can see, but it’s not only the US who enforce this rule. I have had the same answer from the Italian Coast Guard, as the rules are the same all over Europe. The rules are meant to cover normal operations and of course we all want to see low discharges into the sea, but there should be a dispensation for spills".


In situations where an oil spill recovery vessel is obliged to cease recovery operations on account of available tank capacity being completely topped up with recovered oil-water mixture, the rules do not allow settled out water to be discharged (to permit continuation of oil recovery) unless oil content is below 15ppm.


In virtually all oil spill situations it is not practicable for skimming vessels to have onboard capability to process settled-out water to ensure oil content is below the permitted limit. In order to comply with rules, the only immediately available option is to halt oil recovery.


This said, there is in fact a clause in the current MARPOL rules that does allow governments to permit decanting in specific situations but it’s not well known and certainly not something that can be quickly and easily resolved in the midst of a response action. The experience of masters of skimming vessels and on-scene-commanders is that officials will automatically refuse permission.


ISCO is proposing that guidelines be developed to allow decanting in an environmentally responsible way in accordance with the principle of net environmental benefit.  ISCO’s aim would be to get the rules amended in such a way that a ship’s master or on-scene-commander acting in conformance with these guidelines would be empowered to decant settled-out water without fear of prosecution.


• Facilitating the use of oil at sea for research, equipment evaluation and testing


The need for more effective response technologies has been highlighted by the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the higher risks posed by  increased oil industry operations in hostile and sensitive environments.


The availability of laboratory and test tank facilities is good but this does not provide a complete answer. At-sea testing and scientific evaluation using oil is an essential component of some kinds of marine spill response R&D. Consider, for example, the large body of work conducted by the British Government’s Warren Spring Laboratory in developing techniques for aerial application of oil spill dispersants – this could not have been done without using oil at sea. A current example is the need for work being done to test and evaluate performance of new technology for sub-sea oil recovery

ISCO is not advocating making it easy for all and sundry to carry out experiments with oil at sea but we do see the need for guidelines to determine the parameters under which responsible parties can be allowed to conduct  important R&D work at sea under controlled conditions.

The end objective is to facilitate the development of more effective technologies for protection of the marine environment.



Following on the submission of two nominations for the position of ISCO Member of Council for India, an election is currently under way amongst ISCO Members in India, the ISCO Council and Executive Committee to determine who will be appointed.  Each candidate has provided a CV/Personal Profile and a short statement saying how each proposes to further ISCO’s objectives.


The closing date for registering votes by email is Thursday 10 May and the successful candidate will be announced in the ISCO Newsletter of 14 May 2012.


The editor of the ISCO Newsletter is grateful to Members and Readers who send in stories for publication – especially news from those parts of the world where due to availability in English language or access via the internet is difficult. The ISCO Newsletter has readers in more than 50 countries and your help in contributing news and articles that will be of interest to the international spill response community is always appreciated. Corporate members, government agencies and other organisations are especially requested to ensure that ISCO is on the mailing list for their press releases.

ISCO AT CLEAN PACIFIC 2012 – BOOTH 506 (30/4/12)

ISCO is a media sponsor of the Clean Pacific Conference and Exhibition which takes place over May 16-17 in Long Beach California.


You are invited to visit the ISCO Booth in the Exhibition Hall.  ISCO President David Usher and Membership Director Mary Ann Dalgleish will be there and ready to give you the latest news on new ISCO initiatives and activities.


David Usher is also presenting a paper at the Conference in Session 2D – Advances in On-water and Subsurface Recovery.  This will be at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 17th May. The title of his paper is “Using Manned Submersibles to Respond to Submerged Oil Spills.  The co-authors of the paper are David Usher, Chairman, Marine Pollution Control Corp. and Bill Hazel, Director of Marine Services, Marine Pollution Control.


Your editor is always on the lookout for interesting material.


For example, have you carried out a spill clean-up of an unusual kind – perhaps one that required you to use innovative techniques in answer to particular problems.?  If you have a good story you would like to share with our readers, please send it in.



For legal and other reasons ISCO and the ISCO Newsletter cannot, and will not, endorse products and services provided by members or other third parties.


However, we do welcome contributions about new technical developments – one of ISCO’s aims is to disseminate information to our community on new products and services, technical improvements and the realisation of new ideas for improving spill prevention and response.


In order to be accepted for publication articles should be factual and written in concise, clear language. Articles with overt sales  promotion, exaggerated claims,  or other dubious content will not be accepted.


A well written article, with one or more photos, is a great way to tell the world about a new technological advance. It is good PR and it’s free. In allocating editorial space, ISCO Members are given priority (without their support this Newsletter would not be published) but contributions from non-members may also be accepted if publication conforms with ISCO’s educational objectives.


There are still many countries that are not represented on the ISCO Council and ISCO is looking for individuals willing to serve on the Council.

The ISCO Council is composed of the appointed National Representatives of each country in which there are one or more Members of ISCO. The ISCO Council acts as an advisory and consultative body, assisting the Executive Committee on policy, new initiatives and other matters.


Countries and their representatives at this time are –


 AUSTRALIA   MrJohn Wardrop

 AZERBAIJAN   Mr Namig Gandilov

 BRAZIL   Capt. Bill Boyle

 CANADA   Dr Merv Fingas

 CHINA (Hong Kong)  Capt. Davy T. S. Lau

 CHINA (Mainland)  Mr Guobin Li

 CROATIA   Mr Darko Domovic

 EGYPT   Eng. Ashraf Sabet

 ESTONIA   Mr Torbjörn Hedrenius

 FAROE ISLANDS  Mr Pauli Einarsson

 GREECE   Prof. Harilaos  N. Psaraftis

 ISRAEL   Mr Dan Arbel

 KENYA   Mr Sanjay Gandhi

 LUXEMBOURG  Mr Joseph Braun

 NIGERIA   Chief Kola Agboke

 NORWAY   Mr Jan Allers

 SINGAPORE   Capt. Chris Richards

 SOUTH AFRICA  Mr Anton Moldan

 UAE    Dr Ali Saeed Al Ameri

 UK    Mr Kevin Miller

 USA    Dr Manik Sardessai


Countries in which members are not yet represented on the ISCO Council include  -




And in the many other countries in which ISCO does not yet have any members, there is an opportunity to become the first member in your country by joining ISCO and to submit your name for consideration as a possible Member of ISCO Council.


Any Member interested in serving on the ISCO Council should submit his/her name. Alternatively, you may recommend another person as a suitable candidate for consideration if he/she is willing to become a member and serve on the Council.


Persons wishing to be considered as members of ISCO Council should live in the country they wish to represent and should submit a short CV by email to the Secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  together with a short note describing what you feel you can do to support ISCO in achieving its objectives.


Members of Council act as the primary point of contact between the membership in each country and the Executive Committee, providing support in facilitating communications between ISCO and government ministries or agencies, and other national authorities, institutions or bodies in the countries represented. They encourage the formation of national (or regional) associations which bring together individual professionals, companies and other entities involved in spill control in their countries, as a means of raising levels of co-operation, knowledge and competence, facilitating sector recognition and creating channels of communication with governments. They are expected to promote ISCO’s objectives and encourage growth of ISCO membership in their countries, organising local meetings of members and supporting ISCO initiatives in the countries represented.

If you would like to have more information about ISCO’s objectives and the ISCO Council send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


At the ISCO 2012 AGM held last week at the Interspill Conference in London, Members elected Capt. William Boyle MNI as a new Member of the Executive Committee.  Capt. Boyle has more than 25 years experience in oil spill response and is currently General Manager of Briggs Environmental Services, responsible for day to day National and International Operations, liaising with Clients and Governmental Agencies National and International.


Other members of the ISCO Executive Committee are David Usher (President), John McMurtrie (Secretary), Rear Admiral M. L. Stacey CB, Daniel F. Sheehan, Marc K. Shaye, Jean-Claude Sainlos, M. Kerem Kemerli, Paul Pisani, Simon Rickaby and Li Guobin.


The meeting also approved the appointment of two new Members of ISCO Council – John Wardrop as Member of Council for Australia and Dark Domovic as Member of Council for Croatia.  John Wardrop is an international consultant to governments and industry with over 25 years experience in spill response. Darko Domovic, formerly Senior Programme Officer for REMPEC in Malta is now Technical Advisor to the Oil Spill Education Centre in Croatia.


The Guest Speaker at the meeting was Dr Merv Fingas, ISCO Member of Council for Canada and former Head of Emergencies Science at Environment Canada. In his illustrated talk on “Burning the Unburnable” he exploded the myth that a number of heavy oil types cannot be dealt with by in-situ burning.


ISCO President David Usher was unfortunately unable to be present but he opened the meeting via Skype AV link. He welcomed those present and spoke of the importance of ISCO in raising awareness of the role of professionals in the industry and the contribution they are making to protecting our environment.


ISCO Secretary John McMurtrie was acting Chairman and in the Secretary’s Report he welcomed recently joined new members including KBKM and Associates (USA), TerraTech (USA), Clean Harbors (USA), INTERTANKO, Eco Strategic Consultants (Australia), Enviro Voraxial Technology Inc. (USA), The University of  Petroleum and Energy Studies (India) and Heather Parker (USA).


The Secretary also reported on progress made with the ISCO Professional Membership initiative under which individual professionals in the Spill Response Community can achieve professional recognition – Fellow, Member, Associate Member, Student Member – in accordance with their experience and qualifications. Over the last few months more work has been done to enhance the candidate assessment process to ensure that it is rigorous and verifiable, rules, guidelines, and a code of professional conduct have been developed. Professional Membership provides a career path for new entrants to the industry.


For individuals Professional Membership provides a visible mark of quality, competence and commitment.  Interested candidates are now being listed and some corporate members have indicated intention to sponsor employees.  The Meeting agreed to empower the Executive Committee to progress implementation of the initiative and the hope was expressed that this would soon be achieved.


The minutes of the AGM will be circulated to Members in the near future.



 imo tg meeting march 2012


In the picture: The ISCO Delegation to the IMO OPRC-HNS TG13 meeting. From left to right, standing – Dr Wierd Koops, Honorary Member, (Netherlands); Dr Merv Fingas, Member of ISCO Council for Canada; seated – John McMurtrie, ISCO Secretary (UK); David Usher, ISCO President (USA); Dr Douglas Cormack, Honorary Member (UK). Photo: Courtesy of Josée Lamoureux.


Last week delegations from 27 governments, REMPEC, EEC, IOPC Funds, MOWCA, and 7 NGOs participated in the 13th Session of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group on the Implementation of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol and relevant Conference Resolutions.

Over 5 days the TG addressed a full agenda covering the development of Manuals and Guidance Documents, Training, Information Services and  

News (continued)


Exchange, and Technical Co-operation Implementation on OPRC and HNS.  The meeting was chaired by Alexander von Buxhoeveden (Sweden).

Work on the various agenda items was complemented by a number of special presentations given by members of the attending delegations –


• Dr Rebecca Coward of ITOPF gave a presentation on the clean-up operations on the west coast of Sweden following a collision involving the bulk carrier Golden Trader.

• Luigi Alcaro of ISPRA, Italy, gave a summary of events and operations following the Costa Concordia cruise liner accident in Italy.

• Dr Wierd Koops of ISCO and the University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands described the scope of the new on-line chemical spill response manual and interactive HNS database and gave a demonstration of the system.

• Carlos Ormaechea of IMO MSD gave a presentation on the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).

• Alexander von Buxhoeveden (Swedish Coast Guard) gave a presentation on oil spills that occurred in Swedish waters during 2011, including a spill of Crude Tall Oil (by-product of wood processing).

• Marisa Fernandez (Spain) gave an update on the activities of the ARCOPOL Project (a project framed in the Atlantic Area Transnational Programme focused on the preparedness, response to and mitigation of accidental marine pollution impacting on the shoreline).  

• Marek Reszko from Gdynia, Poland briefed the meeting on the activities of the BRISK project which is concerned with the risk of spills of oil and HNS in the Baltic Sea.

• Annabelle Nicholas of ITOPF gave a presentation on the December 2011 oil spill following the grounding of the vessel in Brittany, France.

• Christophe Rousseau of CEDRE, France presented on the new Flume Tank and Ecotoxicology Test Bench created by CEDRE, describing the new developments at CEDRE and their functions.

• Burak Aykan from Turkey described Turkey’s oil and HNS response plan, the new bases and other facilities being developed in Turkey.

• Andrew Berry of Maritime New Zealand described the events and operations following the Container Vessel Rena impacting a reef  offshore Tauranga, New Zealand.

• David Usher of ISCO gave a presentation on submerged oil recovery, including new concepts and prototype testing at the OHMSETT facility in the USA.


NOTE: Readers wishing to access more information on topics described can use the following links -  Chemical Spill Response Manual   GISIS   BRISK  ARCOPOL Maritime New Zealand   or drop a line to the Editor at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The ISCO 2012 Annual General Meeting will take place at 5.30 pm on Wednesday 14 March 2012 in the Speakers’ Room, adjacent to the Interspill Conference Rooms at Excel, London.


This year our Guest Speaker will be Dr Mervyn Fingas, ISCO Member of Council for Canada.  Dr Fingas was formerly Head of Emergencies Science Division at Environment Canada’s Environmental Technology Center in Ottawa, Ontario.


His illustrated talk will be on “Burning the Unburnable”.


Members are requested to attend promptly in order that the Meeting can be concluded in good time to allow attendees to join up with friends at the various corporate hospitality events taking place later in the evening.

Non-members are also invited to come and will be made welcome. Light refreshments will be served.


The 2012 ISCO AGM will take place during Interspill in London. The Agenda and Meeting Papers (including Form of Proxy) have been sent out. If you have not received these please advise the Secretary.


Details of the meeting room, actual day and time will be advised ASAP. Interspill takes place over 13-15 March 2012.



Members of the Ad-hoc Working Group met at the Naval Club on the 7th of October 2011.


The plan to create new classes of Professional Membership was discussed at our 2011 AGM at IOSC in Portland Oregon, USA.  The initiative was approved  and welcomed by the meeting but a number of concerns were raised about (a) the rigorousness of the vetting process needed to ensure that applicants meet the required standards for the various classes of Professional Membership and (b) the adequacy of the proposed membership fees in relation to the costs of managing the Professional Membership initiative.


At a side-meeting some members of the Executive Committee also raised concerns about potential liability exposure that might arise if award of Professional Membership were to be wrongly perceived as some kind of "guarantee" on the part of ISCO regarding the professional competency of Professional Members and any acts or omissions for which they might be held to account.


Because of these concerns it was decided that the Professional Membership initiative be regarded as a "work in progress" and that its full implementation should be slowed down in order to allow time for issues to be addressed.


The London meeting of the Working Group, was attended by David Usher, Rear Admiral Stacey, John McMurtrie and Dr Douglas Cormack with apologies from Simon Rickaby, Dan Sheehan and Marc Shaye. An invited insurance advisor also attended to give advice on liability insurance.


The meeting resolved to (a) seek legal advice on appropriate disclaimers that should be included in Professional Membership documentation and related matters, (b) further investigate the obtaining of insurance cover to give protection against liability exposure, (c) to further assess the rigorousness of the vetting process for Professional Membership applicants, to progress finalising of the Rules and Guidelines relating to Professional Membership, and to produce a Code of Practice for Professional Members.  It was also agreed that the proposed fees for initial Assessment and Annual Membership of Professional Members be kept under review with an option to increase these fees at a later time should this prove necessary.  



ISCO will be launching new classes of Professional Membership at the IOSC Conference in Portland, Oregon, USA.  

More information will be sent out next week in a Special Edition of the ISCO Newsletter and details will also be posted on the ISCO website in the near future.  


ISCO is pleased to introduce and welcome the following new members who have recently joined the organization.




· Imbibitive Technologies America Inc. – Manufacturers of the well known "Imbiber Beads" that are used to reduce health, fire and explosion hazards by encapsulating spills of volatile organic liquids.


· Welseas Africa Co. Ltd. – Marine Services and Trading Company, based in Tema, Ghana, West Africa.


· Clean Caribbean and Americas (CCA) – The Regional Oil Spill Response Organization whose members include most of the major international and regional oil companies and oil related facilities in the Caribbean and Latin America. Established in 1977 and located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, CCA holds a large inventory of equipment and supplies, and is capable of responding to a major oil spill anywhere in the region.




· Funda Gurcuoglu – based in Istanbul, Turkey, Funda is on the staff of ISCO Corporate Member, Meke Marine Environmental Protection Services.


· Kevin Wang – based in Anaheim, California, USA, Kevin is with US Oil Clean-up, part of Power Plus Cleaning Solutions, providing equipment and services for oil spill response, and post-incident cleanup and remediation of Hazmat, Biohazard, Terrorist Attack, Fire, Water, Flood, Mould, and Asbestos.

· Wu Yue – based in Beijing, China. By way of introduction, Wu has provided the following information – Wu is Chief Representative Officer of ISCO Corporate Member, Lamor Group Ltd., Beijing Representative Office. "I joined the Lamor Group (Finland) in 2006. Since then I thoroughly dedicated myself to the spill response technology and OSR equipments promotion. I have participated in many oil spill emergency drills and oil spill response, especially in this July, On behalf of Lamor I took charge of organizing job on the scene to contain the oil outflows due to an oil pipeline blast in Dalian, a port city in North China. Also, I'm a member of China Institute of Navigation Committee of the Ship Pollution Prevention. I have given training lessons in Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) several times and a number of my papers were published in periodicals, for example, "Practical Equipment and Technology in Oil Spill Emergency Response" and " Suggestions for Construction of Oil Spill Emergency Centers in Coastal Areas"


If you haven’t yet visited the site  you are strongly recommended to do so now.

For more than 30 years the creator of this site has responded to some of the worlds largest oil spills from oil tankers, offshore platforms, pipelines onshore and offshore and carried out training courses and consultancy work for the oil industry and government agencies in over 50 countries. This experience has been applied in developing a comprehensive source of knowledge and practical experience that will be of benefit to all who work in oil spill response.


The creator of the site says "It has taken a few years to put the site together and it is an ongoing thing.


My first thoughts were that when ever there was a spill there is so much misinformation for the public to access so a site with good reliable information and links to places where more reliable information can be found would help in getting the real story out there for them to read. There are many personal opinions and anecdotes in the sections to give it a human rather than a text book feel. It is also a useful tool to those within the oil spill community and those who are thinking of joining or have just joined".


The address of the site has been added to the LINKS page of the ISCO website and is also in the Technical & Reference Section at

The owner of the Oil Spill Solutions website invites ISCO Members and other readers of the ISCO Newsletter to join by registering on the site.


Neil Chapman of the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency is now leading the Correspondence Group established by the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group to develop Operational Guidelines providing practical guidance to assessing and responding to incidents involving sunken oil on the sea floor.


ISCO is participating in this task and is focused on gathering information on the practical experience and lessons learned by oil spill response professionals in the spill response community represented by ISCO at IMO.


At the last meeting of the Technical Group it was decided that the primary focus of work should be on negative buoyancy oil lying on the sea floor rather than oil contained in sunken wrecks. In terms of content, the Group agreed that it would also include references to other sources of information and a series of case studies. ISCO has previously appealed to its members and the wider response community and is grateful to those who have provided information. However, the recovery of sunken oil is a developing field of activity and, in order to produce the new IMO Technical Guidelines more information is needed. Within the community we represent are professionals who have direct experience of solving the problems involved; also manufacturers and other establishments carrying out R&D work to develop new techniques and equipment. ISCO would like to hear from you, so please drop a line to the Secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you think you can help.


Some time ago ISCO developed a template to help in writing up case studies. This is currently under review for possible improvement but can be used. You can download the template from the Downloads Page at 


You can also have a look at contributions received so far from ISCO members and others by going to:



This week the ISCO Newsletter welcomed new readers – members of the DG & Hazmat Group, who responded to a message to the DG & Hazmat Group forum in which the ISCO Newsletter was given a mention. The DG & Hazmat Group has been an Associate Member of ISCO since 2006.


The free newsletter published by Don Johnston of the DG & Hazmat Group is one of the best sources of world-wide news on oil /chemical spills and related events. It comes out every few days and contains about 20 pages, mainly incident reports, often accompanied by dramatic colour photos and video links. How do interested parties become members? - It’s pretty easy, there are two ways this can be done, and the simplest is to send a blank email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, visit the Group’s Home Page at: and click on the icon "Join this Group".


ISCO is delighted that members of the DG & Hazmat Group have joined the increasing number of people on the ISCO Newsletter mailing list, helping us to make progress towards our target of 10,000 readers worldwide.


If you find the Newsletter interesting and useful, think of friends and colleagues who would like to join our readers. Just click on and then on "Click Here to join our Mailing List"



Apologies are due to those who have recently visited the "Useful Downloads" page of the ISCO website. "Useful Downloads" allows users to download free tools, guidance documents and software for oil and chemical spill response – but the site, with some non-responsive links and other problems, was in need of overhaul.


This work has now been done and you can have a look by clicking HERE


"Useful Downloads" is capable of further development and improvement. It would be nice to have an index of the many topics addressed with a "jump to" facility making using the site easier and faster. Any volunteers willing to help?



On behalf of ISCO, Executive Committee Member, M. Kerem Kemerli gave an excellent presentation at the recent Black Sea Environment Protection event held in Turkey. The title of the presentation was “Integrated and Co-ordinated Response to a Prospective Disaster in the Black Sea. A short Power Point version of the presentation can be viewed by clicking HERE



 david usher

The award to ISCO of Consultative Status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2007 meant that, for the first time, professionals involved in the international spill response community were given a voice at this United Nations organization.  Since then, ISCO has taken an active role at IMO, especially in contributing to the work of the Technical Group established to advance the international implementation of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol.

The work of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG) includes the development of guidelines and manuals for improving oil and chemical spill response. As professionals who are involved on a daily basis in the technical development and practice of spill response, corporate and individual members of ISCO are uniquely well qualified to contribute to the work of the TG by supporting ISCO’s efforts to gather practical knowledge that can be used in producing new technical guidelines and manuals. It is the international spill response community that has the hands-on experience of dealing with oil and HNS incidents and it’s not surprising that IMO has high expectations of the contribution that ISCO can make.


I do therefore urge you to support the work that ISCO is doing. If you haven’t already done so, you should join the organization. ISCO represents the spill control community and has members in 34 countries – most of the leading spill response manufacturers and response contractors are members, together with consultants, academic institutions, research establishments and many others. Being a member of ISCO gives positive benefits for your business and professional development.


You are also invited to share your experience and knowledge with the OPRC-HNS TG. Right now, ISCO has joined with other delegations to collate information on Marine HNS Incident Response and on Sub-Sea Oil Recovery. You can download reporting templates by clicking on these links – HNS Incident Response and Sub-Sea Oil Recovery or visit DOWNLOADS at 


There’s a pay-back for you too – The IMO OPRC-HNS TG comprises government representatives from countries that are parties to the IMO Convention, delegates from IMO regional seas organizations, and international representatives of shipping, tanker-owners, oil industry, insurance funds, ports, and others. By getting involved you can raise your profile with people who need to know who out there is developing new technologies and has the hands-on experience and knowledge in dealing with these problems. Your contributions will be acknowledged.


PS :  Please bear in mind that new developments emanating from the Deepwater Horizon spill are going to affect regulations and lead to improved equipment and techniques. ISCO will help provide you with information that will help you to be better prepared for future events.

David Usher, President of ISCO.



The 11th session of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group Meeting was completed last Friday with the approval by delegates of the TG11 report to be submitted at the 61st MEPC Meeting that starts on Monday 27September. The TG11 meeting ended with a presentation and vote of thanks to Mr Nick Quinn of New Zealand for his outstanding chairmanship of the TG over the last three sessions. Earlier in the proceedings, Mr Alexander von Buxhoeveden (Sweden) was unanimously elected as the new chairman and Mr Suh Woo Rack (Republic of Korea) as the vice-chairman for the year 2011, subject to the approval of MEPC. Delegates agreed that the quality of Mr Quinn’s leadership of the TG had been exceptional and wished him well in his new position with the Australian Marine Response Centre (AMOSC).

Work completed during TG11 included an oil spill waste management decision support tool; a joint IMO/IPIECA guidance document on sensitivity mapping for oil spill response; an operational guide on the use of sorbents; and guidelines for oil spill response in fast currents.


Presentations made during the meeting included a demonstration of a new computer-based model for support of marine HNS incident response (Dr Wierd Koops, ISCO); Deepwater Horizon (USA and IPIECA); the recent Barents Sea exercise (Norway and Russia); and the new Korean Oil Spill Training Facility (Mr Suh Woo Rack, Republic of Korea).


ISCO members will be interested to note that ISCO was invited to work with the delegations of REMPEC, USA, Spain and ITOPF in further developing a draft ISCO template for gathering information, lessons learned, and best practice relevant to marine HNS incident response, and to submit this document to TG12. ISCO, in association with other interested delegations, was also requested to continue its efforts to collate information on experience gained in marine HNS incident response and sub-sea oil recovery, relevant R&D and new technology. REMPEC is to provide a web platform for HNS-related information on its website but ISCO will, for the time being, continue to share information received with other delegations and interested parties by posting it on the IMO Work Groups HNS and Sub-Sea sections of the ISCO website.


The 61st Session of MEPC runs from Monday 27th September through to Friday 1st October and ISCO will be represented by Dr Douglas Cormack.



The 11th Session of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG11) meets in London over September 20-24. The ISCO delegation, which includes ISCO President David Usher, ISCO Secretary John McMurtrie, Rear Admiral M. L. Stacey and Dr Douglas Cormack will be joined by Dr Wierd Koops, Head of the research department of Maritime, Marine and Environment and Safety management of the NHL university of applied science. Dr Koops is also a member of the joint ISCO-ISAA international working group on developing accreditation standards for HNS incident response and will be making a presentation at TG11 on a new computer-based model for support of marine HNS incident response. Dr Cormack will also be presenting a paper on Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors

During the week after TG11, the 61st Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) runs from September 27 through to October 1. 


The eleventh session of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group meeting is fast approaching and we are disappointed to note that over the last few months there has been very little new information received from our members and other readers of the ISCO Newsletter. We would be grateful for your help.

ISCO joined with other delegations in agreeing to support the IMO Secretariat in pursuing possibilities of obtaining data on HNS incidents, including near misses, in order to address data gaps that exist and to submit that information to future meetings of the Technical Group.


The availability of data on experience and lessons learned in response to marine HNS incidents and sub-sea oil recovery needs to be improved and the ISCO delegation took the view that within the response community represented by ISCO at IMO there should be a significant source of additional information.


Information gathered will be shared with other OPRC-HNS Technical Group delegates and used in the preparation of new IMO Technical Guidelines on marine HNS response, and on sunken oil assessment and removal techniques.


What we are looking for is short case histories, with emphasis on information on the techniques used,  problems encountered and lessons learned – the kinds of experience and knowledge that you won’t find in the textbooks. We are also interested in special equipment that has been developed to deal with marine HNS incidents, and for the assessment and recovery of sunken oils.


If you can assist, please send information as a word document or PDF file to ISCO Secretary, John McMurtrie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  You can find templates for entering information at: 


Please don’t worry about having to write a beautiful literary production – we’ll be happy to edit the grammar and spelling. If for reasons of commercial confidentiality you need to exclude details of clients, that will be OK – but we would like to know who you are – all contributions will be acknowledged and this is a way for you to raise your profile – it’s good to know who has the experience and knowledge in dealing with these matters.  


ISCO is pleased to welcome PERSGA (The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden) as a new member.


PERSGA is an official regional organization based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, responsible for the development and implementation of regional programmes for the protection and conservation of the marine environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and was formally established in September 1996, with the signing of the Cairo Declaration by all cooperating parties to the Jeddah Convention.


Major functions of PERSGA include the implementation of the Jeddah Convention, the Action Plan, and the Protocol. It has also been given responsibility for preparation and implementation of the SAP and related activities. PERSGA has played an active role in promoting regional cooperation and has recently supported regional workshops concerning environmental assessment (EA), Marine Protected Areas, navigation risks and living marine resources. In addition, a series of national workshops have been sponsored by PERSGA to facilitate the development and review of Country Reports prepared as part of the SAP process.