A recent and widely publicised study is giving serious concern to governments and other parties who rely on the use of dispersant as an essential component of their oil spill response preparedness arrangements.

The implication is that Chemical Dispersant can suppress the activity of natural oil-degrading microorganisms.

Not everyone agrees with this conclusion and in issue 511 of the ISCO Newsletter the independent oil spill consultant, Alun Lewis, challenges the conclusions reached by the authors of the study report.


The series of articles on Oil Spill In-Situ Burning by Merv Fingas MSc, PhD, Hon.FISCO previously published in the ISCO Newsletter has now been consolidated as a single file available for viewing or downloading in the Members’ Area of the ISCO website.

This is the fourth publication to be uploaded in the Technical & Reference Section. Other titles include Oil Spill Remote Sensing by Dr Mervyn Fingas; Anatomy of an Oil Spill - Case History of an Onshore Heavy Oil Spill in the Scottish Highlands; and Response to Inland Oil Spills by Mark Francis, FISCO. It is planned to add more articles. Contributions are solicited and should be submitted to the Secretary for consideration.


September 3 - The three day communications exercise that involved the first test of the new IMO International Offers of Assistance (IOA) Guidelines was completed on 3rd September. The North Pacific Coast Guard Forum (NPCGF) members are the Coast Guards of Korea, China, Russia, USA, Canada and Japan.

The exercise, which was led by the coast guard of Korea, was based on a scenario in which an oil tanker collided with a fully laden container vessel off the coast of Korea, resulting in a major spill of crude oil and loss of containers into the sea. The imaginary incident required a response effort that exceeded local and regional capabilities and the objective of the IOA aspect of the exercise was to ascertain the immediate availability of required response resources from international sources.

The participants in the exercise included relevant agencies of the governments of the NPCGF member countries, ITOPF, ISCO and OSRL. Through ISCO, private sector response contractors and equipment manufacturers in USA, Canada, UK, UAE, Singapore, India and Finland responded with advice on the resources they could mobilize.


The Chemical Aquatic Fate and Effects (CAFE) database is a software program you can use to estimate the fate and effects of thousands of chemicals, oils, and dispersants.

CAFE serves as a tool to help responders in their assessment of environmental impacts from chemical or oil spills into an aquatic environment.

Using CAFE, you can choose between four different spill scenarios: chemical, oil only, dispersant only, and dispersants mixed with oil.

For handy referece the link for downloading this very useful tool has been added to both the Oil Spill Response and Chemical / HNS Response sections of the Technical & Reference area on the ISCO wbsite. Look under Members' Menu, then click on Technical & Reference. You will need to scroll down to the NOAA entry.


This has just been uploaded in the Members' Area. After logging in, look under Members' Menu and click on Technical & Reference, then select Technical Articles.

Based on an actual spill event, this case history was originally published in the Oil Spill Bulletin and Environmental Review (OSBER), a monthly journal published by Alba International Ltd., based in Aberdeen, Scotland.  It was reprinted in the ISCO Newsletter during June 2012. One ISCO member, Brian O’Connor, of the Canberra and Regions Oil Industry Response Group in Australia found the article so useful that he had it reprinted as a booklet for training purposes.

The response action was a complete success, preventing the pollution of one of Scotland’s greatest fishing rivers. A key feature of the response was the construction of a large interceptor dam which provided a 100% effective failsafe barrier for an extended time during which heavily overgrown watercourses were cleaned, removing all traces of fuel and and oiled vegetation.

Another interesting point was a successful co-operation between the experienced Alba team and several employees of the affected industrial premises during an extended and labour intensive clean-up operation.

When the clean-up operations were completed, a splendid Ceilidh (celebration) was held at the local inn. With fiddle and accordion music everyone had a great time and many drams were consumed. This was a spill response looked back on with good memories for everyone involved.


ISCO is pleased to welcome MOIG as a new Industry Partner Member of the organization.  In a press release MOIG Director, Houcine Mejri wrote “The MOIG Management Committee Members are delighted to announce that MOIG has joined ISCO as an Industry Partner.  Following this membership, MOIG will gain benefits of membership including access to the Emergency Assistance Facility, receipt of the ISCO Newsletter, access to Technical & Reference data on the ISCO Website and other benefits”.

At the same time, MOIG has invited ISCO to join the group as a new Technical Partner. Both organizations look forward to developing a co-operative relationship. 

ISCO’s Technical Partners include Centre de Documentation de Reserche et d'Experimentation sur les Pollutions Accidentelles des Eaux (CEDRE); DG & Hazmat Group; International Spill Accreditation Association (ISAA); INTERTANKO; The Sea Alarm Foundation and The UK Spill Association.


ISCO is grateful that most members pay their annual dues on time but unfortunately there are exceptions.

All members are reminded that membership fees should be paid annually in advance on the date of the anniversary of the date on which you first joined the organization.

Currently, our Membership Director Mary Ann Dalgleish is spending a considerable amount of time in chasing up overdue subscriptions. This task is made even more difficult in cases where invoices and reminders get bounced because contact details are no longer valid. If you have not received an invoice or payment reminder please contact Mary Ann at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. without delay.

If you do not keep your subscription up-to-date and ignore reminders it will be assumed that you are no longer interested or involved in the spill control community. In such cases you will be removed from the roll of members and -

  • Your subscription to the ISCO newsletter will be cancelled
  • You will not be advised of emergency requirements for spill response support services, equipment and materials.
  • Your access to the members’ area of the ISCO website will be disabled
  • Your directory listing with hyperlink to your company website will be deleted.
  • You will not be accorded any priority in newsletter editorial content concerning new products, services, and company news.
  • You will lose your right to display the ISCO logo on your stationary and promotional materials
  • You will no longer be eligible for discounts negotiated by ISCO on behalf of its members
  • Professional members will be de-listed and will lose the right to use initials denoting professional membership of ISCO

You will be right if you conclude that ISCO is getting tough on members who persistently fail to pay their dues. We take the view that non-paying members are being subsidised by those that those that pay their dues on time – and this is not fair.


 The Minutes of the ISCO AGM have been circulated to all members on the mailing list. If you have not received the minutes please notify the Secretary immediately at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A failure to receive the minutes could be indicative of an out-of-date address in our mailing list. We do our best to keep our mailing lists up-to-date but ultimately we depend on members to notify changes – your co-operation is appreciated.


Some time ago a suggestion was made that a free one year “student membership” be made available for students, apprentices and trainees.

The idea was discussed at our recent AGM in Amsterdam and was unanimously approved by all present.

These awards would be made to individuals upon recommendation of training organisations and companies undertaking internal training programmes.

The intention is to encourage young people who show promise and interest in making a career in the spill response industry.

Professional Membership of ISCO offers individuals a career path with an option to progress towards higher levels of professional recognition. Nominated individuals will receive a Certificate of Student Membership and be able to access technical information such as spill response tools, manuals, response guidelines on the ISCO website. They will also receive the ISCO Newsletter which has an educational role and be able to seek additional help and advice from other members via the ISCO Groups facility (currently under construction)

Lecturers at training establishments and relevant managers at companies that carry out their own internal training are invited to nominate candidates for a free one year trial student membership of ISCO. Please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with names and email addresses of the candidates you wish to recommend.



Over the last three years ISCO has been contributing to the working group on the IMO International Offers of Assistance Guidelines project and it seems likely that the new Guidelines will be formally adopted at the next MEPC meeting in May.

In the meantime, prompted by the Sunderbans spill in Bangladesh ISCO revitalised its Emergency Assistance facility, building on past experience in emergency resource finding during Macondo and other major events. See

At a meeting of the IOA Working Group convened at the end of the Interspill conference your Secretary took the opportunity to outline the ISCO initiative. It can help not only governments and responsible parties but also the big players like OSRL, MSRC and others – they have quite large resources of people and equipment but in reality quite small when compared with the overall level of resources available from the very large number of large and small response companies, manufacturers and independent experts.

When activated, even the largest players need support either locally or from international sources or both. One thing about the ISCO initiative is that it gives our members better opportunities to get involved and that must be a plus factor for being a member of ISCO.


The ISCO AGM being held during INTERSPILL at 5 p.m.

on Wednesday 25th March 2015 will now be located in

Room D302, on the 3rd floor of the Elycium Building,

adjacent to the RAI Convention Centre.



The AGM Agenda, Meeting Papers and Form of Proxy have been sent out to all Members. Any Member who has not received these should advise the Secretary without delay at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


To keep up-to-date on all news and announcements concerning the AGM please refer to the ISCO News section in recent and forthcoming issues of the ISCO Newsletter.


The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. It is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world. The site covers the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area, the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and most of the Danish Wadden Sea maritime conservation area. It is a large, temperate, relatively flat coastal wetland environment, formed by the intricate interactions between physical and and biological factors that have given rise to a multitude of transitional habitats with tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes.The area is home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise. Wadden Sea is one of the last remaining large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed.

In the newly released Agenda for the Annual General Meeting of the International Spill Control Organization it is announced that the Guest Speaker, Dennis Van der Veen will give a presentation on the current programme on improving preparedness for oil spill response in the the Dutch Sector of the Wadden Sea.

Dennis Van der Veen, Member of ISCO Executive Committee, has 20 years of professional experience in environmental sciences, of which 10 years were with the Dutch Institute for Applied Sciences and 12 years at the Dutch governmental agency Rijkswaterstaat. Currently he is managing director of the consultancy firm ASCC.   


ISCO is currently reconsidering the possibility of restarting its effort to foster the creation of international guidelines for decanting settled-out water during oil spill containment-recovery operations.

Back in September 2012 ISCO presented the case for this at the 64th Session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee.

ISCO’s submission highlighted  the problems faced by masters of skimming vessels when prohibited from discharging settled-out water during operations to recover oil spillage.

The hoped-for outcome was that MEPC would recognise the problem and refer the matter back to the OPRC-HNS Technical Group with an instruction to develop guidelines with the aim of making it easier for responders to legally decant settled-out water and thus realise the net environmental benefit of being able to continue oil recovery.

As things stand MARPOL Annex 1, regulation 4, paragraph 3 does allow individual governments to authorise decanting in specific oil spill combating situations but, for numerous reasons, this clause is seldom exercised.

One of these may be an understandable reluctance by member states to accept responsibility for giving a “carte blanche” without agreed safeguards.   Nine delegations spoke in response to the ISCO Paper but the general gist was that MARPOL Annex 1 had no Unplanned Output in regard to international shipping, was thus not a candidate for amendment and that the existing provision for member states is adequate. Under this circumstance the matter was not passed back to the Technical Group. However, at the end of the meeting several delegates approached the ISCO representative privately, expressing opinions that the proposal made good sense and recommending that ISCO should reintroduce the matter again at a later time.

For the interest of Members and others, the case that ISCO made can be summarised -


Preparedness for Oil-polluted Shoreline clean-up  and Oiled Widlife interventions

The POSOW 2 project officially kicked off on 1st January 2015. Funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (DG ECHO) and coordinated by Cedre, this 2-year project also involves REMPEC, ISPRA, FEPORTS (Instituto Portuario de Estudios y Cooperacion de la Comunidad Valenciana, Spain), AASTMT (Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Egypt) and DG-MARINWA (General Directorate of Maritime and Inland Waters, Turkey).

POSOW 2 is a follow-up to the project POSOW 1, run in 2012 and 2013 and also funded by DG ECHO. The main aim remains to reinforce the knowledge and skills of volunteers involved in spill response in the Mediterranean area, by developing training materials and manuals and by running training courses.

Following the issues of volunteer management, oiled shoreline assessment, oiled shoreline clean-up and oiled wildlife response addressed in POSOW 1, this follow-up project is set to cover the themes of waste management and assistance to fishermen involved in response on water. These two themes will be the focus of guides, posters, PowerPoint presentations and train-the-trainer manuals, produced in English by Cedre and FEPORTS respectively. All the materials developed during POSOW 1 and 2 will then be translated into Turkish by DG-MARINWA and into Arabic by AASTMT.

The second year of the project will focus on training. Firstly, two 4-day train-the-trainer courses, on the 6 POSOW themes, will be organised at Cedre with cooperation from REMPEC, ISPRA and FEPORTS for 42 future trainers.

The participants will be from civil protection departments, local authorities and NGOs in 7 southern Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The trainers trained will then be tasked with running an initial national pilot training course in their own respective countries, drawing on the materials available in their language.

The participants trained at Cedre or in the countries targeted by POSOW 2 will be recorded in the database developed during POSOW 1, which already lists 276 people trained during POSOW 1 in the 8 target countries at the time: Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Spain. For further information and for free downloads of the many training materials developed during the projects POSOW 1 and 2, please visit the website

This information reproduced here with acknowledgement to Centre de Documentation de Reserche et d'Experimentation sur les Pollutions Accidentelles des Eaux (CEDRE)



Established in 1984, the International Spill Control Organization is a not-for-profit NGO with Consultative Status at IMO and Observer Status at IOPC Funds. With members in over 45 countries, ISCO is dedicated to raising worldwide preparedness and co-operation in response to oil and chemical spills, promoting technical development and professional competency, and to making the knowledge of spill control professionals available to IMO, UNEP and other organisations when needed.

ISCO members include the world’s leading spill response contractors, consultants, training providers and manufacturers of spill response equipment and materials. Members also include organisations involved in response planning and management support, spill response R&D, oiled wildlife rescue, oil spill detection and tracking, and many other spill-response-related activities.

Since 1989 (Exxon Valdez), 1991 (Gulf War Oil Spill), 2006 (Lebanon Oil Spill) and 2010 (Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill) ISCO has had a role in the emergency sourcing of urgently needed resources for oil spill combat.

More recently work has been done in making the procedures for sourcing support more efficient and effective.

To facilitate contractual matters, the standard international SPILLRESPONSECON contract is available for use by requesting parties and assistance providers. It can be accessed via the ISCO website at


1. In emergencies governments and other parties identify urgently required response assets - people with specialised know-how, equipment, and/or materials – and advise needs by email to the ISCO Secretariat. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with c.c. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. Using pre-established electronic networking systems, these requirements will be relayed to ISCO members around the world.

3. Members who are willing and able to fulfil requirements should send their responses by email to the ISCO Secretariat. Members' responses will be quickly forwarded by email to the designated person nominated by the requesting party.

[NOTE: In order to protect the Requesting Party from being on the receiving end of multiple emails that could compromise vital communications channels, contact details of requesting parities will not be released. Responses from ISCO members may be grouped and will be forwarded by ISCO. Members are under instruction to limit the content of offers to exactly what is being requested and  any offers that are not relevant to what is being requested will not be forwarded. This policy will ensure that the only the Requesting Party can determine which offers of assistance should be followed up by establishing direct contract with the member/s offering assistance]

4. Requesting party then decides on which offers of help it wishes to pursue and will establish contact directly with members who have offered help.
5. Note that ISCO is not commercially involved and will not be acting as an intermediary between the purchasing authority and suppliers of goods / services. ISCO accepts no responsibilities for persons, equipment, materials or services provided by suppliers.


6. When notifying needs to the ISCO Secretariat, please -

a. Include name and email address of person designated to receive offers
b. Give advice on who will pay for goods/services and method of payment
c. Confirm that purchasing authority will arrange for rapid customs clearance
d. Confirm that purchasing authority will at own risk arrange onward transportation to required location
e. In case of equipment provided on a hire basis, confirm that contracting authority will accept responsibility for return transportation cost, making good damages / compensate owner in event of loss or damage beyond economic repair.

In case of need for personnel with specialist knowledge being confirmed, please -

f. Confirm that purchasing authority will arrange for someone to meet them at destination airport
g. Confirm that purchasing authority will arrange for trouble-free immigration (issue of visas on arrival)
h. Confirm that purchasing authority will provide accommodation and local transportation during stay in the country.


7. If you wish to offer the requesting party some or all of the items on the list of needs the designated procurement officer should be given the following information –

i. An itemised list of the required people/equipment/materials/services that you are able to mobilise or dispatch immediately.
j. Current location/s of people/equipment/materials that you can provide
k. In case of personnel, CVs with details of relevant experience
l. In case of equipment, whether it must be accompanied by trained operator/s
m. Earliest possible ETA of personnel/equipment/materials at destination airport.
n. Costs – itemised costs for personnel (day rates), equipment (purchase option and/or contract hire rates) and materials on a non-returnable basis. All items to be priced ex-depot/factory.
o. Mob and demob costs – to/from airport in supplier’s country, air fares, air freight and insurance costs.
p. To facilitate evaluation of offers, all costs should be given in US$.
q. Any other conditions of contract that will be apply. It may save time if you choose to make use of the standard RESPONSECON contract (link provided on the ISCO website at )


September 25 - IMO is celebrating World Maritime Day, with the theme "IMO conventions: effective implementation".

World Maritime Day is celebrated every year, providing an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. Individual Governments are encouraged to mark the day, on a date of their choosing but usually in the last week of September.   Each World Maritime Day has its own theme, which is reflected in IMO’s work throughout the year. In 2014, the attention has centred on the need for ratification, widespread entry into force and effective implementation of IMO conventions, in order to ensure tangible benefits emerge from the often-lengthy process leading to the adoption of an IMO treaty instrument.

In his World Maritime Day message, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said that the theme had enabled IMO to make genuine progress towards ratification, entry into force and implementation of all IMO conventions – but especially those which have yet to be widely accepted.   “For an IMO convention to be properly effective, it needs early entry into force, widespread ratification, effective implementation, stringent oversight of compliance and vigorous enforcement. Even those conventions that command almost universal coverage of the global fleet, such as SOLAS and MARPOL, only have teeth if they are backed up by an effective implementation infrastructure at the national level,” Mr. Sekimizu said.



Message received from Greg Hall on 25 September – “It is with great excitement that we announce the availability of the 2014 IOSC Online Proceedings. As many of you know, several years ago IOSC undertook a project to move the entire text of the IOSC Proceedings, since the inception in 1969, into an electronic format which is now available online to anyone for free. Each article and poster in the collection has its own electronic identity and can be cited and searched for through online databases. The 2014 edition represents the first time we have engineered the online Proceedings into the fabric of the conference from the beginning of the planning process”.

To view the online proceedings click on  

“In addition to viewing the online proceedings please make sure to check out our recap video of the 2014 International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC)! This video captures a series of interviews with participants talking about the value, importance and evolution of the IOSC over the years. It also highlights the advancements in oil spill technology, the spill response community that it supports, and IOSC’s global reach and impact. That video can be viewed at” 

Read the complete text of this announcement from IOSC click on  


This week we have extended the Newsletter mailing list to include attendees at the recent ISCO Forum who expressed interest in ISCO and its weekly newsletter. Other new readers this week include participants in the recent oil pollution response workshop held at Trivandrum, Kerala, India. Please enjoy this free trial of our newsletter.

We hope you will find the publication interesting and useful. We welcome you to a readership that reaches out to ISCO members and readers in more than 54 countries.

Previous issues 449 and 450 both contain reports and photos relating to the Forum.  You can view these by clicking on and downloading the relevant issues.

I very much hope that you will want to become members of ISCO. You can see all of the membership options at

You can look at the benefits of joining ISCO at

You can download a joining form at


The Forum presented a cross section of professionals representing the multi disciplines addressing the issues of spill response to potentially sinking oils. Thank you for your participation and support to help us meet the goal of providing a platform to discuss these important developments in our industry.

We would like to encourage you to give your comments or feedback on any of the issues raised in the presentations or on the Forum in general. Feedback on the Forum will be used to help us evaluate the effectiveness of the Forum and guidance to make future events even better. Please take a moment and share your thoughts.

ISCO Membership is available and we encourage you to look at the value that the Organization offers to professionals. Sign up now at:

ISCO, in its 30th anniversary, is proud to have provided a link between International Government agencies, Industry, the Scientific Community, Research and Development and Spill Responders to the issues of today and the trends leading to the future.

We publish a weekly Newsletter which compiles for you a comprehensive look at current news in the environment. This will save readers up to 10 hours a week of scanning, browsing and searching for all the news that matters and puts it in your inbox every week.

We facilitate the collective voice of our members concerns addressing regulation and best practices in our industry.

Our members are a dynamic network of resources to each other and a link to the environmental needs of the world.

The Forum is an example of the ISCO commitment bringing the issues to the professionals and it is our intent to continue to do so with your participation and support. Thank you! 


Exactly 40 years ago, on 25th September 1974 the grounded VLCC Metula was refloated after spilling more than 53.000 tons of oil.

The story will be recounted in a mini-serial by Carlos Sagrera MISCO starting in ISCO Newsletter 451.

Carlos Sagrera is a MISCO member and has specialised in prevention and control of onshore and offshore spills in Latin America for 20 years. He is a retired LCDR (Uruguayan Navy, 1992) and graduated from the Chilean Naval Polytechnic Academy (1978


One of the core objectives of the Premiam (Pollution Response in Emergencies: Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) initiative is to promote the application of best practice in science and management to post-spill environmental monitoring.

One important way through which this is achieved is the publication of relevant guidelines to facilitate those responsible authorities in the planning and implementation of monitoring programmes.

Therefore the Premiam group is pleased to announce the publication of the ' Guidelines for the Environmental Monitoring and Impact Assessment Associated with Subsea Oil Releases and Dispersant Use in UK Waters' which, as a result of government and industry focus after the Deepwater Horizon incident, was seen as a priority to have in place. Also published are a number of supplementary short Technical Guideline documents which provide more detail for specific techniques and approaches referred to in the core guidelines. This document has been primarily developed by marine monitoring experts at Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) in consultation with the Premiam partner organisations, including Marine Scotland. The development of the guideline was funded by Oil & Gas UK as part of activities associated with their Oil Spill Response Forum.

If you would like to know anything more about the Premiam initiative and its objectives please visit or contact Mark Kirby (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


September 16 - The Federal Government of Nigeria is setting in motion new efforts to address long-term oil pollution in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The move by Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to convene a multi-stakeholder workshop on the implementation of the UN Environment Programme's 2011 assessment of Ogoniland marks an important step towards the large-scale clean-up of the region.

The workshop in Abuja today will discuss the measures needed to implement the recommendations outlined in the 2011 UNEP report entitled, "Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland". Participants from civil society, Ogoni communities, government, academia and the oil industry will attend the workshop. The day-long meeting will be held under the leadership of the Federal Government of Nigeria, with Mr. Erik Solheim, chairman of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, chairing the sessions.

Mr. Solheim has, since early 2013, served as a UNEP Special Envoy for Ogoniland, conducting and coordinating high-level political talks related to the planned environmental clean-up in Ogoniland. Since the release of the Assessment in 2011, UNEP has expressed its readiness to support restoration efforts and commends the latest efforts by the Federal Government to put the necessary procedures in place for a large-scale clean-up and restoration of the region.   The UNEP report, conducted at the request of the Federal Government of Nigeria, was a detailed scientific assessment of environmental contamination in Ogoniland from over 50 years of oil operations in the region. The results from soil, ground water, remote sensing and public health studies showed that pollution was extensive, with widespread contamination of drinking water, land, creeks and vital ecosystems. UNEP welcomes this positive development in Ogoniland after years of pollution. Environmental restoration will require coordinated action from oil companies, community and the government. UNEP remains ready and available to support stakeholders in making Ogoniland a cleaner and safer place for all  The 2011 report outlined immediate remedial actions needed as well as a series of recommendations for a large-scale clean-up of the region. Analysis indicated that while contaminated areas could be cleaned up within 5 years, catalyzing a sustainable recovery of Ogoniland could take 25 to 30 years The Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland report is available online at:


September 10 - HELCOM's international aerial surveillance operation over the Northern Baltic Sea ended today at 17:00 (CET +2hrs), completed despite thick fog at night time, 27 hours after the start. This year's Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Operation (CEPCO North) was organized by the Estonian Police and Border Guard and no oil spills or other discharges from ships were detected.

"The operation involved four specially equipped aircraft from four countries - Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden. More support was provided by three participating vessels as well as through satellite surveillance from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).  The weather conditions had a major effect to the operation due to unpredictable fog, but nevertheless the overall cooperation went smoothly", says Priit Pajusaar, CEPCO North 2014 coordinator and Police Captain from Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.

Such high-intensity operations supplement the regular aerial control operations in the region which aim at creating a realistic picture of the level of compliance to the anti-pollution regulations in the Baltic area. The purpose is also to gather evidence of infringements and, if possible, to catch polluters red handed.   "Pollution surveillance has a substantial preventive effect on the illegal oil discharges. All HELCOM states should ensure sufficient support and funds for surveillance, in order to respect the HELCOM precautionary principle as well as the commitments of the Helsinki Convention through regular pollution control. Moreover, the persistent efforts of the HELCOM Response Group deserve credit for the decreasing trend not only in the number of oil discharges in the Baltic, but also in their volume," says Harry Liiv, Chair of HELCOM. Since the timing of the HELCOM CEPCOs is randomly selected, the operation is intense and strictly confidential until the entire operation is over, it reflects the realistic situation of discharges in the Baltic Sea.

CEPCO operations have several objectives, such as to survey continuously high density traffic areas with a high risk of illegal discharges; identify and catch the polluters; practise communication between aircraft, patrol vessels and the Command Centres involved; improve cooperation between countries; and exchange experiences between crews.

Read more in ISCO Newsletter 449