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More oil spill observations on seas

Press release 2015-01-21 at 15:44

Release by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and the Finnish Border Guard

In 2014, the amount of suspected oil spill observations reported to Finnish authorities grew by one third, compared to the previous year. Eventually, 68 of the spills were confirmed to be oil. Most of them were minor spills near harbours or shores. In two cases, the estimated amount of oil released into the sea was over 1 cubic metre.

The Baltic Sea is classified as Pariticularly Sensitive Sea Area and spilling oil into it is prohibited. The amount of oil spills on open seas has reduced in recent years. However, seafarers should pay more attention to their activities in harbours in future. Oil spill investigations were started in 10 cases in 2014.

Oil spill observations on the Baltic Sea in Finland in 2014

oilspills 2014

Oil spills are monitored in international cooperation

Methods for monitoring oil spills in marine areas include airborne monitoring and satellite images. The CleanSeaNet satellite image service of the European Maritime Safety Agency EMSA monitored Finnish marine areas with over 200 images. Any potential oil spills detected in the images are always verified on site.

Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) obliges countries to monitor its marine areas regularly from air. The equipment of the monitoring plane used by the Finnish Border Guard can detect oil even through clouds, up to tens of kilometres away from its route. The planes are also equipped with vessel detection devices.

In 2014, the Finnish monitoring planes patrolled the Baltic Sea for 505 hours. The most active shipping lanes are monitored in cooperation with other countries, Sweden and Estonia in particular. Finland also actively participates in international surveillance operations, which feature extended monitoring of certain areas by the monitoring planes of several countries.

Suomen, Saksan ja Hollannin valvontalentokoneet Norjassa 2014.

The Dornier 228–212 monitoring planes used by Finland, Germany and the Netherlands ready for oil spill observation in Norway during the week of midsummer 2014. Photo: Kati Tahvonen, SYKE

Further information

Oil spill control
Kati Tahvonen, Senior Adviser
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
tel. +358 400 148 754

Administrative oil pollution fees
Tom Lundell, Maritime Safety Expert
Finnish Border Guard
tel. +358 40 521 4685

Aira Saloniemi, Communication expert
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Tel. +358 400 1488 75

Target group: