Environmental emergency response in Finland
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is the competent governmental pollution response authority in Finland. It is in charge of measures against pollution incidents at open sea and whenever severity of an incident so necessitates. SYKE is also the nationally appointed competent authority that is empowered to request and give international assistance in response to marine pollution caused by oil or other harmful substances.
When a vessel gets into a situation which includes a pollution risk, the SYKE may within the Finnish territorial waters or even outside the territorial waters, when it considers it necessary, give an order to undertake salvage activities which are intended to avoid or limit the pollution risk.
Finland implements the "Polluter-Pays Principle". In cases when the polluter cannot be identified, the national Oil Pollution Fund can cover the costs for oil pollution response. The national Fund can finance also the authorities' equipment purchases that are made to enhance the national oil pollution response preparedness.
Responsibilities in pollution response
The Ministry of Environment has the supreme responsibility for the management and supervision of the response against pollution caused by oil and other harmful substances.
The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), operating under the Ministry, is the competent government marine pollution combatting authority. SYKE is also responsible for purchase and development of governmental oil combatting equipment.
The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) advice and supervise the local municipalities and certain commercial companies in arranging the pollution preparedness and response. When necessary the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment also participate in the response operations.
Response Service Regions have the obligation on their own area take care of oil pollution preparedness and response.
The owners of different kind of facilities handling big amounts of oil shall have a limited oil combatting ability of their own.
Other authorities are obliged to assist oil and chemical spill combatting within their abilities.