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HNS-MS, 2015-2017

Development of a decision support system for chemical spills at sea












€484K (DG ECHO)    

and €161K (partners)



(Joint funding)      

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Scalian Alyotech (France)

Armines - IMT Mines Alès (France)

Cedre (France)

Federal public service. Health food chain safety and environment (Belgium)


In the face of escalating volumes and an increasing variety of chemicals transported by sea (over 2000 chemicals with different behaviours), it is clear that the resources provided by the authorities must be reinforced to address the threats posed by spills.

The HNS-MS project (Improving Member States preparedness to face an HNS pollution of the Marine System) aimed to develop a crisis management support system in the form of a web platform providing access to data and forecast models which may be activated by the maritime authorities and MRCCs (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres) in the Bonn Agreement area.

To achieve this aim, the project focused on:

  • creating a database containing validated data for around 100 chemicals
  • performing tests and analyses on a selection of around 20 products so as to improve knowledge of their behaviour in seawater
  • developing behaviour and slick drift models
  • producing GIS-based environmental and socio-economic sensitivity maps of the shoreline and marine environment.

The system developed is able to model the drift of chemicals at sea as well as to study their fate, i.e. their transfer in the water column and atmosphere and their persistence at the water surface. The results can then be studied in conjunction with the environmental and socio-economic sensitivity maps. Thus, in the event of a spill, operational teams will be able to anticipate the extent of the spill and define the strategic decisions to be implemented.

This project was followed up via the MANIFESTS project



Project website:



More information

Cedre. 2017. HNS-MS improving EU Member States' preparedness to face HNS pollution by developing a decision-support tool. Cedre information bulletin, n° 36, p. 18-19

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