Maritime accident risks and response cases
Oil transportation in Gulf of Finland
The amount of maritime traffic in the Gulf of Finland has increased sharply. In 2010 the volume of oil transport in the Gulf of Finland was 153 million tonnes which means more than eightfold growth in fifteen years. If the planned Russian oil terminal projects will be accomplished the same growth rate is expected to continue -this would mean that the annual oil transport volume would be 195 million tonnes by year 2015.
The growth of transport emphasizes need of precautionary safety as well as an efficient preparedness for pollution response and salvage. New larger response vessels are needed.
The incresed traffic volumes call for new maritime safety measures. Excamples of the safety measures implemented in Northern Baltic Sea are the GOFREP and the new routeing system that was introduced in the Sea of Åland on 1 January 2010.
Escort towing of large tankers in fairways as well as emergency towing and fire-fighting capacities are some important ways to keep casualty and spill figures low in the Gulf of Finland also in the future.
Marine oil pollution accident statistics
Finnish Environment Institute sends oil recovery vessels yearly from 5 to 10 cases in the Finnish response region of the Baltic Sea to response possible pollution. Most of these cases have risk of pollution, but oil or other harmful substance do not leak out from the casualty to the sea - these cases are handled by ship-to-ship transfer or the leakages are repaired by divers at accident site. In some cases the response vessel's responsibility is to secure that during the casualty's towing no pollution enters sea. Since 1990 there has been four accidents in the Finnish pollution response zone that led to oil spill larger that 30 m3.
Shore accident statistics
In Finland annually about 2000 accidents result in oil entering the soil - in most cases only minor amounts. Annually in about 160 more severe cases the Finnish Environment Institute's duty officer is alerted. The other cases are handled by the Response Service Regions together with the the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY).