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Sub-regional risk of spill of oil and hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea (BRISK)
Start date: Dec 31, 2008, End date: Jan 23, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

1 Background and partners of the project: The BRISK project (2009-2012) is a response to an increased risk of accidents and environmental damage in the Baltic Sea. The numbers and the sizes of ships navigating in the Baltic Sea area have increased in recent years, and the transportation of oil and other hazardous substances is growing steadily. The risk of shipping accidents has increased as well. Major oil spills can affect economy of several countries and are hence a transnational problem. Early and well organized response operations is an effective tool for reducing the environmental effects of pollution accidents.The project area covers all transnational maritime areas of the Baltic Sea divided into six sub-regional areas of responsibility. The project has 10 partners in 8 Baltic Sea countries representing the national authorities responsible for spills of oil and hazardous substances. The Admiral Danish Fleet is the Lead Partner. See project website www.brisk.helcom.fi2. Objectives: The overall aim is to increase the preparedness of all Baltic Sea countries to respond to major spills of oil and hazardous substances from shipping and enhance sub-regional co-operation. The project will offer the first overall risk assessment of pollution caused by shipping accidents covering the whole Baltic Sea area basen on common methodology. The project will identify gaps in existing emergency and response resources needed in all sub-regions of the Baltic to effectively tackle major spills of oil and hazardous substances. It will prepare pre-investment plans on how the countries can jointly fill in the gaps, and facilitate the development and conclusion of sub-regional agreements between neighboring countries for joint response operations. The sub-regional approach is cost-efficient as countries can share their resources to build a common pool of response vessels and equipment sufficient for a given sub-region. 3. Expected results: The results of the project will enhance the safety and environment of the Baltic Sea.• A common understanding of the concept of risk and damage will be the first important step in the direction of a unified and consistent response in the Baltic Sea.• The description of common criteria for required level of response and comparisons with existing response capacities will provide a comparable description of the needs for response resources.• The risk analysis will provide important mapping of high risk areas and hence help the authorities responsible for oil spill to a better prepared-ness on a national, sub-regional and Baltic Sea level.• The investment plans will provide a basis for donors to optimise the resources. Therefore, funding within the maritime safety sector may become more attractive to potential sponsors. Achievements: The first overall risk assessment based on one common methodology to cover pollution caused by shipping accidents throughout the Baltic Sea was carried out. The result has been used to identify the areas with highest risk for spills and environmental damage.The risk analysis to identify highest risk of spills was based on current shipping traffic information as well as forecasts of future trends. It described the sources, frequency, types, quantities and locations of marine pollution. The result of the analysis was a pollution impact map of the entire Baltic Sea. The identification of hot spots for risk of oil spill showed that large spills of 300 to 5,000 tones are expected once every four years for the whole of the Baltic, whereas exceptional spills of 5,000 and above are estimated to occur once every 26 years mainly along the main oil shipping route, with hot spots at route junctions in the Baltic Proper and the Kattegat and the narrow Great BeltThe analysis of environmental sensitivity included spatial data on intemationally protected areas, feeding areas used by migratory birds, spawning areas used by fish, aquaculture facilities, locations of archipelagos and shallow waters, as well as major settlements, popular bathing beaches and rocky shores etc. The analysis revealed the existence of three types of high sensitivity areas to oil: coastal waters, archipelagos, and shallow waters. The environmental sensitivity map was used to compare areas of sensitivity with areas of oil impact. This way, the prevention and response sponse methods could be optimized in order to minimize the damage to the environment. The risk analysis also included the effects of oil spill response capacity. Further the project has added value to the situation regarding bi-lateral and mulit-lateral agreements and has contributed to speeding up of agreements between the Baltic countries.The BRISK project implement the provisions of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), a major programme for the recovery of the marine environment adopted by all Baltic Sea countries and the European Union in 2007. The BRISK project also contributes to the realization of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region as one of the flagship actions.The results of the BRISK project will be of high importance to the international bodies related to the Baltic Sea (e.g. HELCOM, EU), to international funding institutions as well as to the national authorities that are responsible for emergency response and environmental protection.
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  • 2007 - 2013 Baltic Sea Region
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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