Interspill PREMIAM paper 2009
Pollution Response in Emergencies - Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring (PREMIAM)
Mark F. Kirby and Robin J. Law
Cefas, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK
A fully integrated and effective response to an oil or chemical spill incident must also include a well planned and executed postincident assessment of environmental contamination and damage. Some national authorities have well formulated national contingency plans and environmental advice mechanisms which provide strategic planning and response frameworks with, often, a stated commitment to initiate relevant monitoring, research and environmental impact assessment. While salvage and rescue operations are well considered, including regular reviews and exercises, the expertise, resources, networks and logistical planning that are required to achieve prompt and effective impact assessment and monitoring are not formally in place.
The arrangement and co-ordination of post-incident monitoring and impact assessment needs to consider sampling programme design, biological effects, chemical contaminant analysis and collection/interpretation of expert local knowledge. Cefas have wide experience of providing this co-ordination, most recently with the MSC Napoli incident off the south coast of England, and it is clear that this response would benefit from a more pre-considered, co-ordinated and standardised approach.
This paper describes need for and early development of the PREMIAM (Pollution Response in Emergencies - Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring) project in the UK. This programme would aim to address two key elements:
- The development of Expert Guidelines to set out sampling and logistics options, methods, considerations and essential information required for impact assessment in the short, medium and longterms. The guidelines would cover the necessary at sea and shoreline sampling of waters, sediments and biota and specify the necessary chemical and biological effects options. It would also address related information such as the need for modelling and consideration of localised expertise/issues.
- The development of a network of national and regional experts, samplers, fisheries contacts, analytical providers and facilities (e.g. sampling equipment, freezer capacity etc.) that may be required at short-notice to respond after an incident.
The provision of similar guidelines have proven to be successful in improving the assessment of impacts from other pressures (e.g. aggregates extraction, fishing etc.) and would ensure that the assessment is conducted promptly, cost-effectively and using appropriate methods. The formation of a network would ensure that the response community is better co-ordinated and that the programme addresses the needs of all key stakeholder (government departments, responders, conservation bodies, fisheries interests and general public concern).
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