Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Response on the Shore

In the small Baltic Sea, with its narrow Danish Straits and a large number of islands and skerries in the north, it is probable that there is not enough time or resources to recover all the oil or other harmful substance at sea in case of an incident, and thus part of it will reache the shore. The effects of the oil or substance that reaches the shore depends on the amount spilled, type of oil or substance, time of year and weather conditions. A large scale spill may contaminate several kilometres of shoreline and affect both the vegetation and the animals close to the shore.

Pollution on the shore may be of such a magnitude that the national response resources are not adequate for effective counter pollution measures on the shore. Experts and other special competence might be needed in order to carry out the on shore response as efficiently as possible. In addition, the amount of specialised shore clean up material in the national depots might not be enough and international assistance is needed.

In order to be prepared for this kind of situations it is essential that effective mechanisms for international assistance between the Helsinki Convention Contracting Parties for pollution incidents on the shore are well established and ready to operate efficiently.

HELCOM Response Manual Volume III covers international cooperation on combating spillages of oil and other harmful substances on the shore and the HELCOM Expert Working Group on Response on the Shore (EWG SHORE) works to improve the cooperation.