Accidental spills of oil and chemicals into the marine environment have the potential to cause substantial harm to the marine and coastal resources that many in society use and enjoy.
Great improvements to ship safety and training have been made but the increased volumes of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) transported by sea mean that future spills from shipping accidents and other sources are inevitable.
In the UK there are well established procedures for search and rescue, salvage, chemical and oil spill clean up and environmental impacts advice covered in documents such as the National Contingency Plan.
BUT - historically there were no established expert guidelines in the UK for post-incident monitoring and impact assessment nor, indeed, were there a fully co-ordinated mechanism for overseeing the practical aspects of the programme (e.g. survey design, sampling, analysis, interpretation etc.) as an integral part of the emergency response.
The PREMIAM programme has brought together 22 government departments and agencies from across the UK with an interest in marine spill response and the protection of the marine environment. Expert guidance and integrated decision making and co-ordination processes have already been developed and the Premiam partners are committed to continue to work together to apply best practice in terms of science and co-ordination to post spill monitoring and impact assessment.