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SPREEX — Result In Brief

Project ID: 12409
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Spain

Stepping up oil spill response readiness in Europe

While the majority of efforts are rightly focused on avoiding oil spills, systems must be in place for quick and effective response when they do occur.
Stepping up oil spill response readiness in Europe
People in the Gulf of Mexico are all too familiar with what damage oil spills can cause, not only environmentally but also economically. Europe is not immune to such events and the public is running out of patience with the lack of a coordinated response in such situations.

The 'Spill response experience' (Spreex) project received EU funding to improve responses to oil spill emergencies. Several thematic workshops were organised to bring together experts to discuss different aspects of spill response and make recommendations on the way forward.

The question of who does what was central to the debate since many different national, and frequently international, authorities are involved in spill response. In addition to addressing overlap, several tasks that have been ignored up until now were identified.

Technology has played and continues to play an important role not only in avoiding accidents but also in cleaning up after spills. Future research needs for shipping vessels, equipment and robotics were laid out. A special emphasis was placed on promoting information technology solutions, particularly in the areas of spill monitoring, communications and decision support. The Spreex team also examined holistic ways of assessing the environmental and financial costs of related large-scale tragedies.

One of the most important messages arising from the collaboration was not to wait for another disaster to inspire intense research efforts such as Spreex.

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