Response to marine pollution incidents requires careful advance planning to ensure that the impact of the pollution is minimized. A high priority must be given to developing contingency plans that will ensure prompt response to mitigate the adverse effect of any spill. Oil spill response planning will prescribe actions that will be performed under emergency conditions and attempts to minimize damage to the ecology and to the quality of human life.

This paper deals with strategic optimization model that prescribea minimum total cost plan to build new storage location and/or expand existing ones and to purchase new equipmentsandpre-position them and a contingency plan which determines what systems must be allocated to enable an effective response for each likely oil spill scenario.

To date few studies have addressed the strategic aspect of oil spill cleanup management. The spill optimization models can contribute with contingency plans that are prepared by responsible parts in case of a spill and could be used as decision aid by all of these parts. They can be applied whenever new equipments are purchased or whenever any responsible party is preparing a contingency plan.

In this paper is described a model that deals with modern oil spill cleanup requirements that include time-phased response. The model proposed considers further where to locate the protection systems that must be deployed to the priority areas associated with spill scenarios immediately after a spill occurs.

The model is applied in a case that involves three companiesthat wish to update their contingencyplanusing the services of one spillresponse company.This response companywill use the strategic response model for oil spills, in order to help it to check whether it's necessary to expand its response structure, and if so, the model will help to outline a lower-cost configuration that will be adequate to the new situation, fulfilling the legislation requirements.

This model can be adopted by industry to facilitate contingency planning.


Oil spill accidents can be environmentally, socially and economically threatening. In general, such accidents demand an expensive and complex response work. The degree of impact generated by a spill will depend on the spill setting, the volume spilled, and the existing environmental conditions after the oil is spilled, which in some cases, might favor the oil drift to sensitive areas. It will also influence in the degree of impact generated, the existence of a structure of response equipment being of an adequate dimension, enabling a fast response, thus mitigating the potential damage. In any study related to an oil spill it's of utmost importance to assess the multiple conditions and scenarios that might evolve, thus influencing the impacts to be generated in the several analyzed resources of interest.

A greater conscientiousness towards environmental matters and the occurrence of major oil spill accidents has required the creation and the improvement of adequate laws throughout the world. Such laws have demanded that the parties involved implement adequate contingency plans. These plans have been created and improved so as to allow a greater control over the emergency situations generated.

Although there has been a significant drop in the number of major tanker spills through the 1990's, developing effective oil spill contingency plans remains a very important goal for industry and governments. Recognizing the inevitability of future spills, senior management should also give high priority to developing contingency plans that will ensure prompt response to mitigate the adverse effect of any spill, (IPIECA).

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