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Monitoring the Effectiveness of Response Operations During the Sea Empress Incident: a KeyComponent of the Successful Counter-pollution Response
TIM LUNEL,* RICHARD SWANNELL,* JAN RUSIN,* PETER WOOD,* NICK BAILEY,* CHRIS HALLIWELL,* LOUISE DAVIES,* MATTHEW SOMMERVILLE,* ALLAN DOBIE,* DAVIDMITCHELL,* MADELEINE MCDONAGH* & KENNETH LEE? *AEA Technology, National Environmental Technology Centre, Culham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 3DB, U.K. (Tel: 00 44 1235 463083; Fax: 00 44 1235 463040; TMaurice Lamontagne Institute, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, PO Box 1000, Mont-Joli, Quebec G5H 324, Canada

This note describes elements of the counter-pollutionresponse to the 72,000 t (19 million gallons) of Forties Blend and 370 t of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) spilt during the Sea Empress incident in Milford Haven (U.K.). It does not address issues concerned witheither the circumstances surrounding the grounding or the subsequent salvage operation as these are being considered elsewhere. The response has been co-ordinated by the Marine Pollution Control Unit ofthe U.K. Department of Transport (MPCU) and the Joint Response Centre (JRC), involving local authorities, other regulatory bodies and the oil industry. Quantification of the effectiveness of theresponse operations has been obtained through a monitoring programme commissioned by MPCU and carried out by the National Environmental Technology Centre (NETCEN) of AEA Technology. In the past, researchersand responders have suggested that a monitoring programme could not be mobilised for the initial stages of

a response. MPCU’ early mobilisation of a monitors ing team has set a precedent indemonstrating the use of scientific measurements made in real time at an incident to guide a successful response to oil spilt at sea. We estimate that the successful dispersant operation at the Sea...