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Spill Notification Point
Competent National Authority
Responsibility for marine pollution control in Estonia lies with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In practice, responsibility for co-ordination of response to oil at sea is delegated to the Estonian Border Guard (EBG) for Estonian territorial waters and within the Peipus, Lämmi and Pihkva lakes. Responsibility for pollution on land is delegated to the National Rescue Board and thence onto a regional and local level.
The EBG is tasked with the identification of the polluter, evaluation of the spill, assignment of the On-Scene Commander, initiating response operations, requesting and organising offers of international assistance, public relations and subsequent claims processing. The overall command centre may be based at the main EGB offices or a regional office depending upon the scale of the incident.
Spills within ports and terminals are the responsibility of the relevant port authority. The EGB can take over command of operations if necessary.
A National Contingency Plan is in place, and includes a sensitivity atlas, which has been produced for the whole of the Estonian coastline detailing the shoreline type and ecological and socio-economic areas sensitive to oil pollution.
Mechanical containment and recovery is the primary response option for oil spills at sea. The use of dispersants and sinking agents is limited in accordance with that of the Helsinki Commission. However, permits to use dispersants can be issued by the Estonian Environment Inspectorate if the situation warrants.
There is no set procedure for recovered oil and oiled material disposal. Oiled beach material may be bagged and disposed of at the city dump; alternatively it may be burnt at one of several power stations in the vicinity of Tallinn.
For surveillance an L-410 aircraft is available for monitoring and to assist in directing response operations. This aircraft is not yet equipped with remote sensors. Equipment including booms, skimmers, hot water washers, absorbents etc. are operated by the EBG and are located in Tallinn.
The major ports have their own recovery equipment. A private contractor based in Pärnu has a significant amount of clean-up equipment. The stockpile includes equipment for offshore, inshore and beach clean-up operations. An agreement exists with the government to assist in clean-up where necessary
Previous Spill Experience
Numerous small spills have occurred in Italian ports. The AGIP ABRUZZO & HAVEN (1991) incidents occurred within a day and 150 kilometres of each other. With the sinking of the HAVEN, most of the oil was consumed by the resulting fire. Little residue was recovered from the water due to the high viscosity caused by the incomplete combustion of the crude. Poor weather thwarted the booming of sensitive tourist beaches. Manual cleaning of the shoreline continued throughout the summer. In the AGIP ABRUZZO incident, attempts to recover oil at sea were partially successful, but intermittent contamination of shorelines with heavy fuel oil occurred along 130 kilometres, north of Livorno.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
There have been no major oil spills in Estonian waters. The KIHNU (1993) spilt 85 tonnes of light fuel oil outside Tallinn harbour resulting in limited shoreline clean-up. In January 2006, a small amount of IFO 380 was spilt off Keibu Bay from an unidentified ship. An estimated 10,000 birds were oiled by the spill, and a major bird clean-up operation was launched.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
- Helsinki Convention (with countries bordering the Baltic Sea).
- Bilateral agreements with the Russian Federation and Finland for the Gulf of Finland.
Date of issue: December 2010
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