Although maritime transport has seen many improvements thanks to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and other conventions, accidents as well as accidental discharges can still happen during oil and chemical transports. In the relatively cold aquatic environment of the Baltic Sea, oil and other organic compounds degrade slowly. Even smaller, repeated oil spills have adverse effects on the aquatic environment.

The Infrastructure Department of the Government of Åland participates in national and international work to prevent oil spills and to continuously develop oil spill response. An oil spill response plan has been prepared, and it will be updated every five years. The current oil spill response plan prioritises the first measures – i.e. measures to stop and restrict oil spills at sea. In the next oil spill response plan, the focus will be placed on oil spill clean-up and waste management. Chemical accidents may also involve significant environmental and health risks both in the short and long term. In addition to oil spill response, it is therefore important to clarify the strategy and responsibilities for the management of chemical spills at sea and include this in legislation.

Objective of the measure:

It is important to carry out preventive work and to prepare a strategy for oil and chemical spill response. The Government of Åland will allocate resources for the acquisition and updating of oil spill response equipment and for the development of preparedness and legislation. Work to clarify the strategy and responsibilities for the management of chemical spills and to update the legislation is carried out on a continuous basis.

PROGRESS: underway