The BRISK model provides a detailed picture of the risks associated with spills of oil and hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea. The risk of spills at sea originates essentially from two types of events:
Deliberate and inadvertent action (illegal spills)
Accidents at sea
The modelling is covering different sizes of spills, including the largest possible spills in the Baltic taking into account the depth of the sea and the size of the tankers that can enter the area.
The illegal spills dominate the overall picture of small spills. When compared with the traffic intensity, one could see areas in the Baltic Sea where ships sail more “clean”, with less illegal spills.
Deliberate and inadvertent action is expected to result in a spill of approximately 500 tonnes of oil per year. 92% percent of the overall spill tonnage is due to the small spills (less than one tonne). Only 1.3% of the overall spill is caused by events that are larger than 10 tonnes. Almost 90% of the spilt oil is volatile and will typically disappear before it could be contained.
Thus, deliberate and inadvertent spills have almost no importance for the planning and deployment of emergency and response capacities.
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The risks of exceptional spills of 5,000 tonnes and above is related to possible accidents of oil tankers, and is concentrated along the main tanker route, including route junctions in the Baltic Proper and Kattegat as well as narrow straits that lead to the Baltic Sea through the Great Belt.
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Large spills of 300-5,000 tonnes might not pose the same risk as exceptional spills, but they are much more frequent. Large spills are not restricted to the main oil shipping route, but are more evenly distributed throughout the Baltic Sea and as likely on some other routes, particularly in the waters of Gotland, the Åland archipelago and along the Polish coast.
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The risks can also be expressed as the expected intervals between spills of a specific size range, for the whole Baltic Sea or in different sub-regions. A spill in a range of 5,000 tonnes and above could occur once every 26 years, while a spill in a range of 300-5,000 tonnes is expected to occur as frequently as once every 4 years. The biggest risk areas are the south-western Baltic and the Kattegat.
1. Gulf of Bothnia
2. Gulf of Finland
3. Northern Baltic Proper
4. South-eastern Baltic Proper
5. South-western Baltic Proper
7. Sound and Kattegat
Entire Baltic Sea