IMO/UNEP Guidance Manual on the Assessment and Restoration of Enviromental Damage Following Marine Oil Spills, 2009 Edition (I580E)

Published Date

September 2009

IMO/UNEP Guidance Manual on the Assessment and Restoration of Enviromental Damage Following Marine Oil Spills, 2009 Edition (I580E)

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This manual provides guidance on strategies that may be used to assess the damage and subsequent recovery of the environment resulting from marine pollution incidents. It emphasises the importance of pre-spill planning and provides an overview of assessment techniques and restoration measures in various ecosystems. It also provides guidance on opportunities for compensation through the international oil compensation schemes.

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Recognizing the need for international guidance to assist nations in assessing damage to natural resources following major oil spills in the aftermath of this incident, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), soon thereafter, initiated the development of a manual on natural resource damage assessment and restoration following major oil spills. Given IMO’s specialized expertise on preparedness for and response to accidental marine pollution issues and the long history of collaboration between IMO and UNEP, the two organizations agreed to the development of the Manual as a joint publication.

With a view to providing operational guidance, the IMO/UNEP Guidance manual on the assessment and restoration of environmental damage following marine oil spills has been developed through the OPRC-HNS Technical Group of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of IMO, in full collaboration and partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

1 Introduction


2 Pre-spill planning

2.1 Preperation of oil spill sensitivity maps

2.2 Developing a plan for assessment and restoration of environmental damage following oil spills

2.3 Integration with oil spill response contingency plan(s) and assigning institutional responsibilities

2.4 Establishing a funding mechanism to respond to oil spills and asses and restore impacted environments

2.5 Review of relevent legislation

2.6 Pre-spill training and simulations

2.7 Identification of high risk areas and resources

2.8 Baseline data on priority areas


3 Assessment of environmental damage

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Oil fate and distribution

3.3 Biological data collection in the early stages of the oil spill

3.4 Sensitivity and vulnerability to oil

3.5 Prioritizing assessment studies

3.6 Designing and initiating damage assessment studies


4 Restoration measures

4.1 Criteria for restoration: a field approach

4.2 restoration: successful examples

4.3 Indirect restoration:ecological and biological control

4.4 Net environmental benefit analysis

4.5 Scaling restoration through economic valuation and transference of services


5 Compensation for environmental damage from oil spills

5.1 The International Oil Polltuion Compensation Conventions

5.2 Monetary valuation of the environment


6 Case Studies

6.1 Haven, Italy, 1991

6.2 North Cape, United States, 1996

6.3 Sea Empress, United Kingdom, 1996

6.4 Kuroshima, United States, 1997

6.5 Estrella Pampeana, Argentina, 1999


7 Glossary and terms and definitions


Annex 1 A summary of the impact of oil on natural resources

Annex 2 Taking samples for hydrocarbon analysis

Annex 3 Hydrocarbon analysis

Annex 4 Selection and establishment of sites for survey and sampling

Annex 5 Further reading

A​​s a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.  

In other words, its role is to create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

Title: IMO/UNEP Guidance Manual on the Assessment and Restoration of Enviromental Damage Following Marine Oil Spills, 2009 Edition (I580E)
Number of Pages: 97
Product Code: MM1194K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 9789280115017, ISBN 10: 9280115014
Published Date: September 2009
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 210 mm
Book Width: 150 mm
Book Spine: 5 mm
Weight: 0.17 kg
Author: IMO

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