Taking a hard look at maritime oil transport

By performing risk analyses and developing technologies, a maritime transport project has found ways to mitigate the dangers of transporting oil on the sea.

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" MIMIC has recommended a series of procedures for improving maritime safety and minimising the risks of oil spills in the Gulf of Finland to policy makers. In addition, the operational tools for combating maritime risks were improved. "

Piia Nygren, Kotka Maritime Research Association in Finland

Fuel ships transport oil barrels by the millions across the Baltic Sea every day, yet there are considerable risks involved that could cause major oil accidents. The 'MIMIC' project has examined previous studies on the risks of oil transportation and combined these results with new information from lesser studied maritime accidents.

Computer simulations

The combined results were fed into a computer model, which allowed scientists to simulate maritime traffic growth scenarios, route and vessel-specific accident probabilities, as well as the biological and financial consequences of an oil spill on a certain area.  Another aspect of the project saw the team looking at the cost-effectiveness of management strategies used to avoid maritime accidents.

The team published various reports for use by governments and key stakeholders wanting to prevent such accidents from occurring. The ‘Oil transportation in the Gulf of Finland in 2020 and 2030’ report examines the current structure of maritime oil transportation in the Baltic Sea and forecasts future development in the Gulf of Finland between 2020 and 2030. Another report focuses on the cost-effectiveness of maritime safety policy, while a third evaluates the Finnish maritime safety regulatory system.

The project also developed tools for situation awareness-building for oil spill response operations. The integrated ‘Seatrack Web’ and ‘SmartResponse Web’ applications enable up-to-date assessment of oil drifting in the sea and the environment at risk, aiding quick decision-making in the event of accidents. The SmartResponse Web also includes also a model known as ADAM that assesses ship damage and leakage in the event of a collision or grounding accident. These technologies developed under MIMIC are now being used by the Estonian competent authorities for planning, training and in emergency situations.

Planning ahead, for people and businesses

Maritime security threats in the whole Baltic Sea were identified and assessed - results indicate that the current security level in the Baltic Sea is relatively good.

Overall, MIMIC has looked at the issues from both a commercial and societal point of view in order to come up with the optimal solutions that will decrease the risks associated with maritime transport.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project extension of the “Minimizing risks of maritime oil transport by holistic safety strategies (MIMIC)” project is EUR 2 072 340 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 590 560 from the Operational Programme “Central Baltic” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

17/08/2015