Did EMSA vessels participate in the pollution response operations following the large-scale oil spills resulting from the accidents involving the vessels Erika (1999) and Prestige (2002)?
The Agency was created following the accident of the Erika (1999). A major political impetus for establishing EMSA (Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002) was the fallout from the Erika (1999) and the Prestige (2002) accidents and their resulting oil spills. These incidents resulted in huge environmental and economic damage to the coastlines of Spain and France. They also acted as a reminder to decision-makers that Europe needed to invest in better preparation for a large-scale oil spill, i.e. above-and-beyond the resources available at individual Member State level. However, both incidents occurred before the EMSA network of vessels had been set-up, and so EMSA vessels did not participate in these operations.