Oil spills can result in significant environmental damages, particularly in highly sensitive and poorly accessible tropical regions. The overall effects of spills can, however, be significantly reduced through proper prespill planning. In addition to facilitating effective response prior to the incident becoming too large to manage, such planning reduces the potential for misapplication of technologies and resultant unnecessary damage. Planning concepts discussed include development of realistic planning objectives (probable spill scenarios), spill trajectory and fate modeling, identification of sensitive areas, interpretation of persistence and impacts, and identification of environmentally acceptable response technologies. Procedures for environmental data collection and information handling are also addressed.

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