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A 40-year milestone

Cedre celebrates its 40th anniversary

The decision to create Cedre was made at the cabinet meeting of 5th July 1978. It was based on the French Government’s decision to improve preparedness to respond to accidental water pollution, taking into account the recently acquired experience of the Amoco Cadiz spill on the coast of Brittany after the ship ran aground on 16th March 1978.

The not-for-profit association Cedre, an acronym which stands for “Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution”, was registered at the Prefecture on 25th January 1979. Cedre was placed under the authority of the French Environment Ministry.

It is managed by a Board of Governors which meets at least twice a year and which held its very first meeting on 24th April 1979, electing its first President Mr Martray and appointing its first Director Pierre Bellier. Key decisions are made by the General Assembly at the Annual General Meeting.

Near Brest's port, in offices loaned by the Ministry of Equipment, Cedre managed in this first year a budget of 3.7 million Francs, including contributions in kind, with 18 staff on 31st December, of which 11 were leased by the founding partners:

  • CNEXO (Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Océans)
  • IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole)
  • the French Navy
  • the Ministry of Equipment
  • Maritime Affairs.

At the time, Cedre’s main missions consisted in:

  • contributing to the development of methods and techniques (equipment and products) for the prevention of and response to accidental water pollution,
  • providing technical advice and assistance to the authorities in charge of responding to accidental pollution in fresh and marine waters, notably within the framework of the French Prime Minister's circular of 12th October 1978 relating to the preparation of local contingency plans (POLMAR plans),
  • promoting its members’ news in the field of spill response
  • acting as a technical advisor for national administrations in different international bodies.

No sooner had they moved into their premises, Cedre’s staff were confronted with an incident in the Bay of Douarnenez, involving the Sea Valiant oil tanker which had a cracked tank. The oil was pumped out of the ship but at the end of operations, a tank was pierced by a tug and a hundred tonnes of n°6 fuel oil leaked into the sea and washed up on the beaches at the apex of the Bay of Douarnenez. 



The current team is both delighted and proud to celebrate today, on 24th April 2019, these 40 years of research, training, information, advice and response in the field of accidental water pollution. To mark the occasion, we are launching our Instagram profile, where we hope you will enjoy browsing some of our memorable moments in pictures! Log on to:

Last update: 24/04/2019