The Norwegian Coastal Administration will over the next two years work with partners in Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium and Malta to find what responses will work best in the event of an oil spill of low sulphur fuel.
From 1 January 2020, the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) have made changes in their regulations in order to reduce emissions from ships. These changes have resulted in new types of fuel and an increase in use of low sulphur fuels.
In the event of an oil spill at sea, these new types of fuel oils could present challenges. Laboratory testing have shown substantial diversity of the fuel oils with regard to physical and chemical properties, as well as toxicity. This means that if an accident happens to a ship using low sulphur fuel, may result in severe impacts on the marine and coastal environment with subsequent challenges for responders, since it might be difficult to recover the oil with conventional oil spill response equipment and methods
EU funded cooperation
The Norwegian Coastal Administration has taken the initiative to start up IMAROS. This project will gather knowledge and experience from different countries, in order to make recommendations on how to conduct oil spill operations in the event of low sulphur fuels emissions on water. IMAROS is a collaboration between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium and Malta, and it is funded by the EU.
The project will identify the most relevant new low sulphur fuels used by European ships. They will be analysed, and the suitability of a variety of response technologies and methods will be tested on the different fuel oils.
IMAROS is off to a good start, with a kick-off in Brussels and a workshop in Copenhagen. The project team has started the work and agreed on further plans for the project, which has a duration of two years.