This is the official handbook published by the ITOPF organization. The volume starts with the general information about ITOPF where the goals and services of this organization are explained, this part is recommended to the readers willing to get more detailed information on one of the most authoritative and environmentally concerned entities in the maritime industry.

The main aim of the organization is to provide timely and effective response in the cases of spills of chemicals and oil occurring from vessels. the oil spill statistics is provided in a separate chapter of the book together with the oil classification table. The next several chapters are devoted to the established and effective clean-up techniques used by the specialists of the organization and fate and effects of the marine spills as well as to the proper arrangement and planning of the spill response.

The spill compensation is addressed in another separate chapter covering the liability matters and associated regulatory documents such as HNS Convention, National Laws and many others. have a look and you will know more about proper response to the spills and attention paid to the protection of the marine environment.

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Another TIP, i.e. technical information paper released by the ITOPF. This one is devoted to the use of the dispersants for the treatment of the oil spills at sea. The dispersants are applied in order to break up the oil slick into droplets rapidly diluted into water column. Then, they get degraded by micro-organisms.

When used properly, the dispersants will be a very effective response to the oil spills and can prevent or at least minimize damage to sensitive natural resources. It shall be noted that one shall use the dispersants carefully taking into consideration oil characteristics as well as weather and sea conditions, existing natural sensitivities and also national regulations governing the use of dispersants.

Sometimes the use of dispersants will allow to achieve significant economic and environmental benefits - this is particularly the case when the use of the other response techniques is limited by the availability of the resources or harsh weather conditions. The present publication will provide a good yet concise overview of the use of dispersants together with the limitations to be taken into account, considering the dispersants one of the effective options for response to marine oil spills from vessels.

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Booms are widely used during the oil spills at sea to surround and then contain the spilled oil and also to deflect the passage of the oil towards the recovery points and away from sensitive areas. It should be remembered that the success of the operations with the use of the booms is normally limited by the spread of the oil floating on the water surface and effects of winds, waves, currents and tides.

In order to reduce such problems, the booms shall be properly designed and planned very well, and response shall be duly coordinated. However, in some cases it may be inappropriate to use booms. The authors of the present document released by ITOPF are intending to provide description of the fundamental principles of the boom design and tell readers about two main operation modes. The first mode is towing by ships at sea while the second mode is mooring in shallow/inshore waters.

The booms are used as flowing barriers that are designed to perform containment and concentration of the spilled oil, its deflection and diverting it away from the harbor entrances, water intakes, nature reserves and other areas considered biologically sensitive or important from economical perspective. They can be of different sizes, designed in different ways and made of different materials...

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The second technical paper released by the ITOPF. Once the oil has been spilled into the sea water it undergoes several chemical and physical changes. Some of those changes lead to the removal of the spilled oil from the sea surface, while other changes cause the oil to persist.

The behavior of the oil in the sea water mainly depends on such important factors as quantity of the oil spilled as well as the initial chemical and physical characteristics, prevailing conditions of the climate and sea, and also if the oil is washed ashore of remains at the surface.

It is very important to properly understand all processes that are involved in all cases and also to know how they interact, altering the composition, nature and behavior of the spilled oil with the course of time. The present document is describing the combined effects of the natural processes that act on the spilled oil - they are collectively referred to as "weathering".

The factors normally determining if the oil will remain on the water surface or not have been considered with the related implications for the response operations. The information provided in this booklet will be interesting to the people directly involved in planning and conducting cleanup operations at sea. and is therefore highly recommended.

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The compensation for the costs of cleaning up and for the damages commonly caused by the oil spills is being governed by two major International Conventions, namely FC, standing for the Fund Compensation, and CLC, i.e. Civil Liability Convention. Both of these Conventions have been in force since 1970s.

The initial releases of the Conventions did not specifically treat the compensation for the environmental damage because their main purpose was actually only to provide compensation for the cleanup costs considered reasonable as well as compensation for the proven economic losses.

The texts of both Conventions have been revised during last decades and their current edition clarifies their scope as to the environmental damage. Subject scope has also been thoroughly reviewed with respect to such type of damage and some examples have been provided to show what can constitute reinstatement measures.

The Conventions provide a truly unique framework for the compensating costs and damages that have been caused by the spills from the oil tankers based on strict liability principle without the need to prove fault on the owner. The intention of putting such system in place was to provide rapid and swift compensation for the cleanup and commercial and financial losses...

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The present document opens a series of technical information papers released by ITOPF. this booklet has been devoted to the marine oil spills and their aerial observation. Subject reconnaissance is considered one of the critically important elements of the effective response to the most of marine oil spills.

It is widely used for the assessment of location where the spill has occurred and of the extent of contamination by oil. It is also an important instrument for verification of the prediction of oil slicks movement at sea. Such surveillance will provide all required information that will be used by the specialists to facilitate the deployment and further control of the operations, protection of the areas under threat and preparation of the various resources used for the clean-up of the shoreline.

The document provides professional guidance and practical advice on how the aerial reconnaissance shall be provided effectively to reach the desired results. Starting with the description of the observation strategy, it then moves to the preparations to be made, recording and reporting matters, appearance of oil and quantifying its volumes, remote sensing techniques etc. A useful publication for anyone involved in the oil spills observation and associated activities.

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Over the past half-century the technical staff of ITOPF organization have already responded to almost seven hundred spills from the ships in nearly hundred countries in order to provide participants of the shipping industry with the objective advice on the measures of clean-ups, associated economic and environmental effects, and, finally, the compensation.

The most part of the above mentioned spills involved crude oil carriers, however in some of them chemicals, bunker fuel oils and bulk cargoes were spilled from all types of vessels. Though this handbook was published nearly five years ago, the experience and cases contained in its pages are still actual and valuable.

Among the topics covered within this booklet there are technical and various information services, statistics of the oil spills occurred, fate of the spills, oil classification table and clean-up techniques, proper organization and planning of the spill response, description of the potential negative effects caused by such spills, status of the relevant international conventions, associated publications, marine spill compensation, including liability and wreck removal matters, national laws, acts, conventions and other recognized documents. 

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