The Baltic Sea is one of the world’s busiest waterways. An estimated 9 % of the world’s trade and 11 % of the world’s oil transportation passes through Baltic waters. It is estimated that this will increase by 64 % between 2003 and 2020. For example, the oil transportation has increased by 133 % between 1997 and 2008 and is now over 250 million tonnes per year. Plenty of shallows and narrow passages makes parts of the Baltic Sea difficult to navigate. There are around 130 accidents each year, with 10 of these leading to pollution, mostly of oil. The brackish water of the Baltic Sea coupled with a long residence time of water, makes the flora and fauna particularly sensitive to pollution. Sweden has a long coastline of 11 500 km, which makes it vulnerable to oil spills. A Digital Environmental Atlas exists to help prioritise sensitive areas, in case of an oil spill. An enquiry was sent out during 2011 to ascertain the existence and use of oil spill contingency plans and the environmental atlas in Sweden. Of these, 49 % of the coastal municipalities replied that they have a plan, 16 % replied that they are working with it and 35 % did not have one. Of the municipalities that have an oil spill contingency plan, 63 % have used the plan in an exercise within the last 5 years. In total, 31 % of the Swedish costal communities has an oil spill contingency plan used in an exercise in the last 5 years. For the Environmental Atlas, 70 % replied that they are using their own GIS tool or the Environmental Atlas. This is inadequate for an oil spill response, which has been pointed out in an evaluation in 2005 and shown in a few oil spill incidents in the last years. The reason is a combination of information not reaching the municipalities from the state agencies and a low priority for oil spill contingency planning in the municipalities. In the last years, however, work has been done through EU projects to increase the preparedness level, exercise the plans and update the Environmental Atlas data, especially in the south and east of Sweden. The issue has also been raised on a regional level by HELCOM. To have a well functioning oil spill response, regular exercises are needed to work out the bottlenecks, increase organisational cooperation and make individuals more comfortable in their roles in a response organisation.
- oljeskadeskydd; oljespill; beredskap; Sverige
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jonas-palsson/5/