Documents & Guides

Explore a variety of topics about marine spills, response and compensation matters in the pages below.

Each topic and area of interest provides access to more detailed documentation that is freely downloadable.

This includes our 17 Technical Information Papers which are fully illustrated with photos and diagrams and are available in several languages. 


What happens to oil in the marine environment over time when spilled at sea? How do different factors such as volume and physical and chemical properties affect the fate of oil spills? 


How does oil impact seabirds, plankton, sea mammals and the shoreline?  


Which industries might suffer temporary economic losses and loss of market confidence?


What are the specific chemical response strategies for responding to a Hazardous and Noxious Substance spill, and what are the potential effects on human and marine life? 


What information is needed for an effective oil spill contingency plan? How can aerial observation and protective strategies assist with response operations? 


What techniques are available for cleaning up oil at sea and on the shoreline?


What planning and waste management systems need to be put in place to reduce the volume of oily waste for treatment or disposal?


What legal arrangements and sources of compensation are available for a spill from a ship?

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Are post-spill environmental studies becoming the norm? (2015)

This paper uses information from ITOPF attended incidents to look at trends in conducting post-spill studies, and offer a number of possible reasons for these trends; including a general heightened awareness of environmental issues leading to a shift in attitudes and expectations as well as legislative changes. The paper will also look at the implications of these trends for those involved with such studies and re-examine the ideal drivers for scientifically robust post-spill studies.

Categories: Papers , Environmental effects

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Containment & Recovery of Oil Spills at Sea. Methods and limitations (1995)

The ultimate aim of any oil recovery operation at sea is to collect as much floating oil as is reasonably and economically possible. However, a review of past spills shows that rarely is more than 10% of spilled oil recovered from the sea surface. Although many methods of mechanical containment and recovery exist, each has its own limitations which affect the overall success of a recovery operation.

Categories: Papers , Containment & Recovery

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ITOPF Technical Services Brochure

A six page brochure providing an introduction to ITOPF and the services we provide

Categories: Company literature

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Comparison and assessment of waste generated during oil spills (2014)

Experience has shown that the most time-consuming and costly component of a response to an oil spill is often the treatment or disposal of collected waste. The amount of waste generated is dependent on many factors, some which may be controlled more readily during the response.

Categories: Papers , Disposal

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DISCOBIOL: Assessment of the impact of dispersant use for oil spill response in coastal or estuarine areas (2014)

The DISCOBIOL research program aims to provide practical recommendations on dispersant use in coastal and estuarine areas by acquiring relevant (in terms of likely dispersed oil concentrations) and robust experimental information on the impact of mechanically and chemically dispersed oil on living resources.

Categories: Papers , Response Techniques, Dispersants

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Applying international standards in response to oil spills in remote areas (2014)

This paper discusses the meaning of “international standards” for oil spill response in the context of remote operations. Practical examples are drawn from remote spills world-wide, including incidents in Tristan da Cunha, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.

Categories: Papers , Africa, Americas, Oceania, South Atlantic Ocean, Planning & operations

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What makes a good response? (2014)

What defines a successful response? Is it dependent upon satisfying potential critics? Does it depend on money saved or spent? Is it defined by avoiding or mitigating pollution damage? Or is it all of these things?

Categories: Papers , Planning & operations

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Response To Marine Oil Spills

A comprehensive review of the problems posed by marine oil spills and available response measures, published 2012. Available for purchase.

Categories: Publications

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OGP Good Practice Guide: Sensitivity mapping for oil spill response

These publications represent a consensus of industry and government viewpoints, the content of which has been peer reviewed by experts from around the world, through both the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, the IPIECA Oil Spill Working Group, and the OGP Environment Committee.

Categories: Contingency Planning & Advice

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Moving forward in shipping (2005)

The Chairman of ITOPF, Dr Helmut Sohmen of World-Wide Shipping Group, delivered the Keynote Address – Moving Forward In Shipping – at the centenary celebrations of BIMCO, on 23rd May 2005

Categories: Papers

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