Oil spills and oil recovery has become an issues as exploration and transportation is moving to more harsh offshore environment. In the early days of offshore development in the 1970ies and 1980ies most of the activity took place in open water where the existing systems; oil booms etc. where considered quite adequate. However, the recent incidents like Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico have shown that the traditional recovery methods are not sufficient, not even in open water conditions. What comes to conditions where the recovery has to be done among ice conditions and even more so in cold environment where it could be dark at very remote location? For the purpose to prevent incidents from happening and to be prepared to take proper actions in recovering spilled oil among ice we need a new approach to ensure safe operation without any harm to the environment. The accident of MT Antonio Gramsci in winter 1979 with an oil spill of 5.000 tons which mostly came to shore in the Western coasts of Finland created the impetus for changing the helpless status of the nation's winter response. The active development work in Finland thus started already in the early 1980ies by performing laboratory experiments as well as full-scale tests. Today we have a clear national target for 30.000 tons year-round response capability and are entering in the home waters to modern, tailored ice capable oil recovery vessels with dedicated tasks and integrated systems ready for oil recovery challenges in various conditions; open water and ice, warm and cold environment, good infrastructure and with no infrastructure at all. This paper describes the new possibilities in ship design relevant to oil recovery together with earlier studies in testing the possibility of oil collection from ice.

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