Uk – Recent counter pollution R&D activities cpr research Projects

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UK – Recent counter pollution R&D activities

CPR Research Projects

  • Currently - 9 research projects running

  • All collaborative – unusual in MCA

  • Approx £670,000 worth of funding

  • Feed into or back up NCP philosophy

  • Support operational requirements


  • Move “far from market” project areas

  • Target stakeholder beneficiaries

  • Fair stakeholder funding

  • Reduce financial burden on MCA

Limiting viscosity project

  • Controversial issue

  • Innovative approach

  • 4 stakeholders

      • Responder, regulator, industry, MMS
  • Contributions in kind

  • Limited funding available

Sea trials - 2003


  • sea temperature of 15ºC

  • oil viscosities of 2,000 cP (IFO-180)

  • 7,000 cP (IFO-380)

  • waves associated with wind speeds of between 7 and 14 knots

Ecological effects of dispersant use

  • Primary UK response method

  • Controversial, often disputed

  • Operator/regulators/industry funding

  • Will feed into Defra review

  • Competent contractor

  • Benefits – All stakeholders involved and agreed

Consequences of not doing

  • MCA open to challenge on dispersant philosophy (happens anyway)

Resource mapping project

  • Update 1990 paper based maps and produce new digitised maps

  • 10 stakeholders – public/private

  • Challenging project management

  • Essential stakeholder involvement

  • Question of contractor competence


  • Highlighted the need for government wide standards of data collection, storage, etc

  • MAGIC website is maintained / regularly updated by Defra

  • We can add new data – places of refuge?


ECE monitoring

  • Anglo / French joint ops

  • Qu of phosphate impact on ecosystem

  • Deliberate release or recover – cost?!

  • Defra / MCA – collaboration / funding

  • PML / Soton Uni – 2 discrete projects

  • Outcome – no real impact – OK to release

Project outputs

  • Project evaluation

  • Marine Information Note

  • Project Report – on MCA site

  • Greater benefits through collaboration with OGD’s and Industry

New projects

  • Waste management (potential showstopper)

    • Not mainstream MCA work area
    • But successfully pulling stakeholders together
    • Overall benefits to UK plc
  • Potentially polluting shipwrecks

  • Surface cleaner efficacy

New projects 06/07

  • Design of large scale waste treatment plant

  • Techniques for dealing with submerged and sunken oil

  • HNS Risk assessment

Potentially polluting wrecks

  • To identify locations and identity all potentially polluting wrecks in UK waters.

  • Establish methodology to best calculate quantities and types of pollutants are present on each wreck type.

  • Agree best format for database structure – including how best to categorise information.

  • To provide a clear, well structured and searchable, dynamic GIS based database creating a knowledge platform which will readily facilitate risk assessment exercises for all UK waters and coastline.

Evaluation of surface cleaners

  • To develop robust protocol in electronic format for cleaning hard rock surface and man made structure using a range of cleaning techniques

  • Development of a decision making tool to aid the identification of appropriate, fit for purpose techniques for a range of oil and emulsion types over a range of hard substrates. To produce a guidance manual for shoreline clean-up operatives describing best practice for cleaning hard coast structures.

  • To develop a robust guide for developing environmental impact assessments for each cleaning technique, to include primary methodology for mitigating environmental damage.

Design of large scale waste treatment plant

  • To design a treatment plant capable of dealing with thousands of tonnes oily waste.

  • To determine best technology and specific machinery for each element of the operation taking into account a range of waste types.

  • Critically appraise relative costings for each available process

  • Identify sourcing of appropriate equipment

  • To establish relationships between process treatment technology and nature of material to be processed. Water content, sand and gravel, fines, large foreign debris

  • To establish criteria for siting of waste process plant - logistics, to the satifaction of all UK environmental regulators.

  • To determine plant footprint requirements.

Techniques for dealing with submerged and sunken oil

  • To identify parameters and their significance essential to develop realistic modelling of partially submerged and sunken VHFO’s in seawater.

  • Develop a methodology to incorporate such algorithms into existing modelling capability.

  • To determine appropriate and realistic oil recovery techniques for submerged and sunken oils.

HNS Risk assessment

  • To identify the highest risk HNS for the UK PCZ and determine priorities for modelling and practical work.

  • To determine the fate and effects of higher risk HNS in the marine environment.

  • Produce a guidance document, easily searchable for prediction of fate and effects of generic higher risk HNS.

Very Heavy Fuel Oils Risk analysis of their transport in UK waters

What are VHFOs?

  • Not an industry standard definition

  • Purposely used term to distinguish heavier fuel oils from lighter fuels

  • Defined as FOs of 380cSt or higher at 50°C

  • Transported VHFO includes:

    • Cargoes of Residual Fuel Oil
    • Bunkers of IFO380, IFO500, IFO700

Production of VHFOs

  • VHFO cargoes are RFO from refineries

  • Almost all RFO can be categorised as VHFO

  • Examples are Erika (555cSt at 50°C) and Prestige (615cSt at 50°C)

  • VHFO bunkers produced by blending RFO with lighter oil products

  • VHFO bunkers used by ships with slower engines

Properties of VHFO in seawater

  • Initial viscosity increases to 20,000 – 50,000 cSt or almost solid

  • Remain in thick layer, fragmenting after a few days

  • May sink, drop below waves or float below surface

  • Do not respond to dispersants

  • Can be difficult to recover even by mechanical means

VHFO Traffic in the UKPCZ

UK production and consumption of RFO (DTI, 2003)

NW Europe Production and Consumption (EUROSTAT, 2002)

RFO imports to Netherlands ’93-’05 (IEA, 2003 and EUROSTAT, 2005)

RFO exports from Russia (Poten and Partners, 2005)

Major transfers of VHFO cargoes through UKPCZ


  • Very difficult to determine accurate information for IFO380+ bunkers:

    • Cannot determine from statistics
    • Blending to grade may occur at point of sale
    • Estimation techniques inaccurate (e.g. vessels > 20,000 DWT tonnes)
  • In 2002, 27 million tonnes of RFO sold for ‘international marine bunkers’ in NW Europe and Baltic (EUROSTAT, 2003) but does not include

    • Russia
    • Domestic traffic
    • Vessels not bunkering in NW Europe
  • ‘International marine bunkers’ data is also a confusing term and may be misreported in statistics

Is it possible to estimate bunkers?

  • 2004 Dover Strait vessel traffic data supplied, including:

    • Vessel class
    • Vessel deadweight tonnage
  • Typical bunker tank size data obtained for each class

  • Assume tanks on average half full

  • Assume vessels >20,000 DWT tonnes carry IFO380+

  • Bunkers passing through Dover Strait in 2004 = 30 million tonnes

  • Value seems high compared with other estimates, perhaps because tanks not always filled when bunkering

  • Also does not include non-Dover Strait vessels in UKPCZ

  • Bunker volume results inconclusive: probably between 20 and 30 million tonnes in UKPCZ

  • For routeing plots, 30 million tonnes in UKPCZ used

Trends – BP Review of World Energy 2004

Trends in UKPCZ

  • VHFO Cargoes almost doubled in volume between 1998 and 2003:

  • 1998 26 million tonnes

  • 2003 50 million tonnes

  • Imports to Netherlands increased from 8 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes (1998 to 2003).

  • Russian RFO traffic thro’ Baltic Sea increased from 12.5 million tonnes to 27.5 million tonnes

  • Estimate that bunkers increased from 23 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes but no accurate data

VHFO bunkers and cargoes routeing

Thank you for listening

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