Accidental pollution by HNS
The 2014 Cedre Information Day was held on the 1st April in the Direction de l’Eau et de la Biodiversité premises in La Défense, Paris. Some sixty participants from various backgrounds (administration, universities and industry) took part in the Information Day; the theme being "Accidental Pollution by HNS".
Operational regimes in Europe
After an introductory refresher session based on a statistical retrospective of major incidents having occured since 1998, the operational regimes in place in Europe were presented: the Transaid network (voluntary protocol put in place by the French chemical industry to aid emergency services in the event of transport incidents involving dangerous goods); the CASU (Cellule d'Appui aux Situations d'Urgence, emergency response unit activated by INERIS when there is a chemical risk in an emergency situation) and the MAR-ICE network (created by EMSA, providing expertise in the event of a maritime incident involving chemical tankers, Cedre being the focal point of entry).
Recent incidents and Cedre research
The afternoon was devoted to the presentation of recent incidents and their management by the competent authorities. The main areas of research regarding chemical pollution response were discussed. In this section, our speakers outlined the technical involvement of Cedre in incidents such as the container ships MSC Flaminia and MSC Napoli, the chemical tanker YM Uranus and the 2013 synthetic oil spill on the A44 leading to the pollution of a watercourse which feeds the Arcachon Basin. As regards research projects, the necessity of continuing studies aimed at characterising the fate of chemical substances released into the aquatic environment was highlighted. This work enables a better understanding of the potential impact on the environment, even on humans, and, in accordance, the adaptation of response techniques that can be deployed in the event of a spill. The efforts made by Cedre in order to design and construct original tools to meet operational needs were presented. The Cedre experimentation column, for instance, enables the study of the behaviour of a product in the water column, for example how a chemical product rises and the risk of a slick appearing on the surface. A prototype is currently being validated at Cedre which will allow the measurement of the kinetics of evaporation and dissolution of a given substance floating to the water surface all within precise operating conditions (control of water temperature, wind intensity and solar radiation).
Actions by the Canadian government
In addition, the actions undertaken by the Canadian government in relation to HNS regulations (OPRC-HNS Protocol) were presented by a representative from Transport Canada. This Ministry has contracted an expert panel to evaluate the preparedness, response and compensation regime in Canada in the event of a ship-source LNG or HNS spill. Their assessment will be the object of a report which is due to be presented to the authorities by the end of the year.
The Information Day was closed by a representative from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment who presented their management of the incident involving the container ship MSC Flaminia. This presentation completed that of Cedre on the incident, in particular by providing information on the treatment of containers in dock (defining a decontamination zone, necessity of handling toxic materials etc.) as well as on the ecotoxicity of the water used to extinguish the fire, which eventually had to be treated as waste.
The audience stressed the quality of the presentations and the pertinence of the theme. The feedback from this Information Day was highly positive... and we'll be back again in 2015 for the 20th year!