Oil Spill Monitoring Handbook

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Hook, Sharon; Revill, Andy ORCID ID icon; Griffin, David; Holloway, Michael; Irving, Paul; Qi, Xiubin; Stalvies, Charlotte ORCID ID icon; Ross, Andrew




This Handbook was written to provide advice to the Australian maritime sector (ports, shipping and terminals) in determining the necessary monitoring to be undertaken following the accidental release of oil or other petroleum-based products into the marine environment, although sections of the book may be of interest to the offshore industry or to those responding to a spill of another chemical. It updates the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s 2003 Oil Spill Monitoring Handbook, taking into account the latest scientific advances in physical, chemical and biological monitoring many of which have evolved as a consequences of major oil spill disasters in the last decade, in particular the Deepwater Horizon wellhead blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Practical guidance is provided for all aspects of oil spill response, although the primary focus is on response phase monitoring. Responses to oil spills (and other accidental releases of hazardous chemicals) are a complex series events where responders must balance competing stakeholder interests and priorities to both mitigate any environmental damage (from an ecological, socioeconomic and amenity standpoint) and to minimise any long-term impacts of the release of oil on sensitive ecosystems. Its focus is on the types of receptor organisms that might be encountered in all areas of Australia’s coastal environment from tropical to temperate waters, however the advice provide is readily applicable to oil spill events in other parts of the world where local guidance may not be available, including parts of Asia. Background information is provided on the chemical properties and fate of oil in marine waters and on its toxicity to a full range of receptor organisms, in sufficient detail that readers with a minimum of scientific training can appreciate the reasons underpinning the recommended monitoring strategy. Initial information on the nature of the incident is supplemented by chemical monitoring of chemical and the identification of likely biological receptors is used in evaluating a response assessment which begins with a net environmental benefit analysis. This leads to the selection of an appropriate response options which might include the use of chemical dispersants, mechanical collection, in situ burning among others. Monitoring is also required in the recovery phase to determine the impacts of the spill and the response, to be initiated in parallel to the oil spill response. Details are provided of standard operating procedures for collecting the samples that would inform both the response and recovery phases of the monitoring. Throughout the text, examples are provided of lessons learned from previous oil spill incidents, both local and international. The incorporation of state-of-the-art monitoring approaches should improve contingency plans for future responses to oil spills both in Australia and elsewhere.


petroleum, response phase monitoring, recovery phase monitoring, toxicology, fate and transport

Environmental Monitoring

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Hook, Sharon; Revill, Andy; Griffin, David; Holloway, Michael; Irving, Paul; Qi, Xiubin; Stalvies, Charlotte; Ross, Andrew. Oil Spill Monitoring Handbook. CSIRO; 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/102.100.100/89597?index=1

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