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Browsing by Author "Friman, Mikko"

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  • Friman, Mikko (2010)
    The Baltic Sea area, formerly an importer of crude oil, has become an important node for oil export. In 2015, between 160 and 240 million tons of oil (and some 150 million tons of other cargo) will be transported through the Gulf of Finland only, in 2006, 140 million tons of oil was shipped through the Gulf. There are a number of development projects going on in Russia and Estonia concerning both old and new terminals. Also new pipelines from the Russian production sites to the coastal oil terminals are under planning or construction. According to an estimate by the EU Commission, in 2010 about 400 million tons of oil and petrochemicals will be processed in the seaports of the Baltic Sea. The risk of accidents is increasing with busier traffic and larger ships. Oil can contaminate the sea through various routes: spills during loading, unloading and other port operations, accidental oil spills from tankers, oil terminals, refineries, pipelines, exploration sites and regular non-tanker shipping, runoff from land, and as municipal and industrial wastes. Any step toward improved safety in shipping decreases the risks and impacts on the marine environment. Therefore the Baltic Sea countries have to continue to work toward pollution-free marine transportation by providing employees environmental protection education and training, by combating substandard shipping, and by increasing international recognition for the ecological significance of the status of the Baltic as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) designated the Baltic Sea a PSSA in 2004.. Several modern tools have been installed for the Gulf of Finland navigation to reduce the risk of ship collisions. One of them is the Gulf of Finland mandatory Ship Reporting System (GOFREP), which went into operation on 1 July 2004. The system covers the international waters of the Gulf of Finland in a joint effort between Finland, Estonia and Russia. By Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) ships are referred to use a different route when travelling from east/north to west/south and vice versa. Important steps forward to further decrease the risks of shipping and oil accidents were taken in July 2006, when new traffic routing measures entered into force in the central Baltic Sea, in Bornholmsgat, and north of Rügen. In the Gulf of Finland, which is a hot spot area for increasing oil transports, the Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) was taken into use in 2004, including TSS. The HELCOM Automatic Identification System (AIS) provides, since 2005, a very helpful source of information documenting, which enables the identification of the name, position, course, speed, draught and cargo of every ship of more than 300 gross tons sailing in the Baltic Sea. The valuation of oil spill damages is challenging because it attempts to estimate the harm from possible future oil spills, and because the harm depends largely on the conditions at the time of the spill. In addition, it might be difficult for people to perceive the probabilities and uncertainties related to oil spills and their impacts. Against this background it is of utmost importance to improve both the technical and the human aspects of ship operation.