The success of a response to a marine spill incident is based on prior preparedness efforts as well as an understanding and working knowledge of the capabilities that make up the 'response toolkit.' These capabilities can be used in different situations or simultaneously, depending on various factors, with varying levels of effectiveness.


Dispersant use can be an effective way of minimizing the overall ecological and socio-economic damage, enhancing the natural biodegradation processes and preventing oil from reaching coastal habitats and shorelines.

The Role of Dispersants in Oil Spill ResponsePDFGlance/scan
At-sea monitoring of surface dispersant effectivenessPDFTechnical report
Dispersants logistics and supply planningPDFTechnical report
Dispersant decision toolkitPDF / VideoInfographic / Animation
Dispersants role in biodegradationVideo (YouTube)Animation
Dispersants: surface applicationPDFGood practice guidance
Dispersants: subsea applicationPDFGood practice guidance
CEDRE: Testing subsea dispersant injections at laboratory scalePDFResearch report
SINTEF: Subsea dispersant effectiveness bench-scale test protocolPDFResearch report

In-Situ Burning

In-situ burning (ISB) is the controlled combustion and burning of spilled oil at, or close to, the spill site. ISB is recognized as a viable response tool for cleaning up oil spills on water, on land, and on ice.

Guidelines for the selection of in-situ burning equipmentPDFTechnical report
CEDRE/INERIS: Preparation of an information document of in-situ burning residuesPDFResearch report
In-situ burning of oil spillsPDFGood practice guidance

At-Sea Containment and Recovery

At sea containment and recovery is the controlled encounter and collection of oil from the water’s surface. Equipment is used to corral and concentrate the spilled oil to a suitable thickness, allowing for mechanical removal.

The Use of Decanting During Offshore Oil Spill Recovery OperationsPDFTechnical report
At-Sea Containment and RecoveryPDFGood practice guidance

Shoreline and Inland Clean-up

Despite the best intentions of a response at sea or in an inland aquatic environment, there is likelihood that some of the spilled oil will eventually reach the shoreline. When shoreline impact occurs, or is likely to occur, shoreline assessment is a critical component of the response, as is understanding the factors to be considered as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the capabilities available.

A Guide to Shoreline Cleanup TechniquesPDFGood practice guidance
A Guide to Oiled Shoreline Assessment (SCAT) SurveysPDFGood practice guidance
Oil Spill: Inland ResponsePDFGood practice guidance
Shoreline response programme guidancePDFGood practice guidance

Waste Management

Emulsified oil, oiled sand and gravel, and other oiled waste can increase the volume of spill-related waste to many times the volume of oil originally spilt. This waste often exceeds the capacity of locally available waste management infrastructure and, as a result, the management of response-related waste can become one of the most challenging aspects of an oil spill.

Oil Spill Waste Minimization and ManagementPDFGood practice guidance

Oiled wildlife

Knowledge and experience of oiled wildlife preparedness and response has been gained by responding to spills of crude and fuel oils over several decades, with many of the same techniques, policies, and operating procedures able to be applied to spills of other chemicals that may affect wildlife.

Wildlife Response PreparednessPDFGood practice guidance
Key principles for the protection, care and rehabilitation of oiled wildlifePDFTechnical report

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