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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Information document – the role of ITOPF (2011)

This information document is offered to delegates in order to provide some background to the origin of ITOPF and its role in supporting the P&I Clubs and the IOPC Funds following incidents. It provides a description of ITOPF's funding and its objectivity in spill response and preparedness.

Categories: Papers , Spill Response, Damage Assessment, Contingency Planning & Advice

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The adaptation of mariculture practices in response to spilled oil (1999)

Oil spills may contaminate both mariculture facilities and livestock. Prevention of oiling should therefore be afforded a high priority. A number of traditional spill response measures but also self-help response options are open to mariculturalists, that may avoid or limit the effects of spilled oil. The advantages and drawbacks of each of these approaches in the context of oil spill response are discussed.

Categories: Wildlife, Papers , Response Techniques, Environmental effects

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Ships and the marine environment (2001)

Ships interact with the environment in which they operate in many ways. Shipping casualties provide the most visual manifestation of the interaction between ships and the marine environment, especially if they result in the death of crew or passengers, or in the release of hazardous cargo or fuel.

Categories: Papers , Environmental effects

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Fishing and harvesting bans in oil spill response (1999)

Fishing and aquaculture harvesting bans are increasingly used as an oil spill management tool, with the intention of protecting public health and consumer markets. Such bans are easily imposed, but a rational basis is needed for maintaining and lifting them. Scientific criteria offer the best prospect for administering fishery bans in a consistent way, but recent marine pollution incidents reveal contradictions in their application.

Categories: Wildlife, Papers , Environmental effects

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Does cleaning oiled seabirds have conservation value? Insights from the South African experience with African Penguins (2007)

Although there is general consensus among investigators that large numbers of seabirds are killed as a result of oil spills, there is disagreement, mostly in the northern hemisphere, about the extent to which oil mortality is biologically significant to local, regional and global populations.

Categories: Wildlife, Papers , Response Techniques, Environmental effects

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Integration of scientific perspectives into the application of maritime law (2005)

This paper reviews a number of recent incidents of pollution form shipping and describes how the application of scientific methods for assessing damage helps to maintain a consistent approach to the implementation of relevant maritime legislation. These cases cover a range of political and cultural settings and serve to identify and assess damage against the background of a complex and highly variable marine environment.

Categories: Papers

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Trends in oil spills from tanker ships 1995-2004 (2005)

The number of oil spills from tanker ships has decreased significantly over the last 30 years. This paper examines trends in tanker oil spills worldwide over the 10 year period from 1995 to 2004 and analyses potential influences on spill volumes and frequencies for incidents of 3 different spill size classes.

Categories: Papers

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Global trends in ship-sourced marine pollution (2010)

A review of the trends over the past 10 years shows that Asia and Europe are the regions where ITOPF attended oil spills most often.

Categories: Papers

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New horizons: Dealing with major oil spills from non-tanker sources (2011)

This paper starts by discussing the topic of declining tanker spills and ITOPF's work with non-tankers. It continues with what the new dimensions for response to non-tanker spills might be, before reviewing some of the main issues in marine oil spill response, whatever the source. It finishes with a brief look at the need for preparation and R&D.

Categories: Papers

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Half a century of shipping spills: What's changed? (2012)

Over the last half century, particularly since the critical TORREY CANYON incident of 1967, the most noteworthy change has been the dramatic decline in the number of major tanker spills from an annual average of 24.5 in the 1970s to 3.3 in the 2000s, despite the growing size of the world fleet.

Categories: Papers , Information Services

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