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Background - Network of Stand-By Oil Spill Response Vessels

Development of the Network

The Network of Stand-By Oil Spill Response Vessels has been built up and maintained through annual procurement procedures, which have been open to all interested parties, particularly those from the shipping or spill response industries, starting in 2005.

Accordingly, the current network provides at-sea oil recovery services from vessels based in all the regional seas of Europe. It should be noted that the vessels are at the disposal of all Member States regardless of their actual area of operation.

How it works

The EMSA Stand-by Oil Spill Response Vessels are available to work under the operational command of the requesting Member State. For this purpose, the Agency has developed a two contract system as described below.

Vessel Availability Contract

Contract concluded between the Agency and the ship operator, it ensures the availability of the vessels at any time. In particular, the ship operator is obliged to respond positively to a request for assistance transmitted by EMSA. In addition, it addresses technical modifications made to the vessels with respect to pumping, heating and any oil recovery equipment as well as organising drills and participating in exercises.

Incident Response Contract

Contract to be concluded between the ship operator and the affected State. This pre-established model contract covers the actual oil recovery operations and includes the associated hire rates.

Following a request for assistance, EMSA will activate or even pre-mobilise the vessel to facilitate the operation. The request for assistance from the Member State should be channelled through the existing Community Mechanism in the field of civil protection, Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC). The ERCC is accessible 24 hours a day and managed by DG ECHO of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

Network of Response Vessels: Quick facts

Number of vessels which can be mobilised simultaneously: 16

Average storage capacity per vessel for recovered oil: 3.500 m3

Network storage capacity, if 16 vessels are mobilised: 60.000 m3

Number of related equipment stockpiles: 16

Mobilisation time (vessel ready to sail to site) after request: 24 hours

Mobilisation procedure:

-Member States request assistance via the ERCC

-Member States have operational control of the vessel during the incident