The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Permanent Secretariat

Projects Observers and Partners

MONINFO Environmental Monitoring of the Black Sea Basin: Monitoring and Information Systems for Reducing Oil Pollution

Project Web Page   Online documents   Initial Questionnaire Framework   The AquaInvader Database and GIS at the Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre (REABIC)

is a 2 years (2009 – 2010) project, approved by the European Parliament (EP) and funded by the European Commission (EC). The need for such a project was brought to the attention of EP and EC DG Environment by the member of the European Parliament Ms. Marusya Lyubcheva.

Beneficiaries: The project is implemented by the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (BSC) and beneficiaries are all riparian Black Sea countries.

Advisory Board: The BSC will work in this project in close cooperation with EC DGs, JRC, EMSA, EEA, IMO, HELCOM, REMPEC, OSPRI etc. All these organization will be invited to be represented in the Advisory Board of the project.

Why is this project needed?

Since the ratification of the Bucharest Convent by 1994, a substantial increase in sea-borne transportation of not only general goods and passengers, but also raw oil and refined petroleum products has taken place and is predicted to continue in the near future. This increase in sea-borne transportation enhances the risk of serious accidents at sea that could have dramatic impacts on the fragile marine environment of the Black Sea and the livelihood of the people living around it.

This increasing risk calls for the coastal states of the Black Sea to address the issue and urgently consider political, legal and operational initiatives that can improve the existing national and regional capacity on oil spill preparedness, response and co-operation.

A regional mechanism for exchange and dissemination of data and information related to shipping traffic, movement of oil & oil products, ongoing and future activities related to oil production, storage and transportation combined with up-to-date information on preparedness and response to oil spills would greatly reduce the risk of oil spills and its impact in the Black Sea region.

What is the usefulness of the project?

In accordance with the principles of prevention and precaution, action should be taken at several stages of the process:

  1. Provision of safe oil transport /port operations in the area
  2. Monitoring maritime traffic and in particular polluting ships
  3. EIA in transboundary aspect for new energy projects
  4. Port Reception Facilities

If operational or accidental pollution occurs, the Black Sea states will also need to use the best available information and practices, on the following domains:

  1. Response in emergency situations in a general framework for contingency planning and
  2. Environmental impact of pollution by oil,

Exercises/Training/Capacity building are also necessary in the Black Sea region on a regular basWhat is furthermore needed in the Black Sea region is a co-operation model of how to link science, management and industry to implement strategies assuring safe oil transfer, and where necessary of assessment preparedness and response in relation to oil pollution. One important element for the deployment of such a model is improved monitoring and also overview, availability and accessibility of data & information on marine environment, industrial activities and hereto related legal and policy frameworks.

Importance of the project for the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

In the related Protocol to the Bucharest Convention on Co-operation in Combating Pollution of the Black Sea Marine Environment by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Emergency Situations (the Emergency Protocol) the Black Sea countries firmly expressed their political will and legally committed themselves to initiate, both individually and jointly, the actions required in order to effectively prepare for and respond to marine pollution related to oil incidents.

The oil spills pollution is recognized as one of the major threats to the marine environment of the Black Sea in the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) adopted in 1996 as well as in the revised draft SAP. These two documents state that the risk associated with heavy shipping traffic /platforms/offshore installations/refineries/oil terminals/ports/pipelines calls for: (a) development of national emergency preparedness and response systems and their coordination at the regional level, (b) improvement of the communication between the private sector and the policy makers and scientists, (c) improvement/development of the Black Sea Information System (BSIS),  (Black Sea Information System - ESAS - Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping- component) including  support data sets within the oil industries, private companies dealing with EIA in this particular field  (d) archiving the assessments, and contributions in data, evaluations and measures of the marine environmental institutes, e) advancement of surveillance at sea and inspections in ports, g) enlargement of port reception facilities capacity, and the last but not least h) further development of legal and policy documents, strengthening enforcement and development of common systems of penalties and claims management for  pollution damages compensation (the common framework for oil tanker spills compensation, through CLC and Fund Conventions and ratifying the Bunker Convention for general shipping related oil spill claims).

The gaps in information about the Black Sea region include the lack of recent assessment of oil pollution coming from Land-Based Sources (LBS), rivers and illegal discharges (last figures refer to 1995-2000) and the lack of real time information on proper operational monitoring and contact responsible institutions for in situ sampling agreed in cases of accidents. Hot spots for oil pollution urgently need to be identified and carefully monitored for their impact on the environment. The region does not have an agreed adequate system for monitoring of accidental pollution.  

This project will allow to gain the needed experience in working with information systems for improved management, to transfer lessons learned from other regions to the Black Sea, as well as to improve the cooperation of the BSC with the private sector and to populate the system with quality controlled data.


The project should enable the coastal states to better prevent and respond to operational/accidental/illegal oil pollution. Once this project is finished, in the long run and throughout the entire Black Sea region, the competent authorities of coastal states should be in a better position to:

  1. improve the safety of oil transfer in a way that diminishes and mitigates the risk of oil spill accidents and emergency situations;
  2. collect and access information on the oil pollution and environmental impact by oil and oil derivatives on the Black Sea marine ecosystem during operational and accidental pollution based on in situ sampling, aerial surveillance, and satellite imagery;
  3. improve the exchange of oil-related information in the region;
  4. update and improve national and regional contingency plans for oil pollution;
  5. efficiently respond to any oil spill accident or emergency situation, individually and, in particular, through bilateral cooperation or within the framework of regional actions, allocating responsibilities and competences to relevant institutions and building upon existing structures, such as the OPRC Convention, the BSC and the European Community Civil Protection Mechanism;
  6. perform risk and impact assessments;
  7. reduce and eventually eliminate illegal discharges of ship-generated wastes in the Black Sea;
  8. increase public awareness of environmental concerns and need to protect the Black Sea from oil pollution;
  9. achieve good environmental status through reduction/elimination of oil pollution in the Black Sea.

Within this long term policy approach, and in support of decision making toward reduction/elimination of oil pollution in the Black Sea, the project will pursue the following objectives:

    Improved information system for combating oil pollution
    • Enhanced monitoring system of operational and accidental pollution
    • Enhanced response capabilities, including risk management and emergency preparedness planning


Information available for the RIP

(On monitoring and information management of oil pollution at sea)

1. Background

Exchange of information on oil pollution between the coastal Black Sea countries has important role in planning and implementation of the mitigation activities in operational mode as well as during the estimation phase for environmental consequences of oil spills.
In the "Strategic Action Plan for the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation of the Black Sea", 2009 is stated that:

"Black Sea Countries agree to:
Nominate the national institutions to provide data/information to the BSC focal points and consequently to the BSC Permanent Secretariat".

The main task of this Questionnaire is to initiate the establishment of a Regional Database and Information System (RDIS), which will be of use for all institutions engaged in actions on prevention of oil pollution of the sea, combat the oils spills, risk assessment in vessel traffic management, estimation of consequences of large oil spill, etc. It is expected the type of information needed by the end-users to be determined and known sources of that info to be identified.

The structure of the Questionnaire is based on the type of the activities and the respective Information System will be constructed accordingly.

Please, when go through the Questionnaire to have in mind as follows:

  1. Is the information included enough for operational activities in case of oil pollution and if not - to indicate what should be added,
  2. What kind of sources of information required is known and to provide the respective contact details,
  3. What information is needed to satisfy the public interest in case of oil spills (concise reports published in-time),
  4. The type of statistical information on oil pollution needed in preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of oil spills

2.National and international Institutions/Organizations/Companies in charge with combating and monitoring of oil pollution in the Black Sea and their contact details.

    2.1 Institutions engaged with remote sensing of oil pollution at sea, including radar, aerial and satellite surveillance.

Information available for the RIP

    2.2 Institutions responsible for combating of oil pollution at sea.

Information available for the RIP

3. Operational (near real time) information for combating oil spills at sea.

Information available for the RIP

    3.1. Remote sensing information for oil spill

Please, describe availability in your country of the following types of surveillance of oil spills on the sea surface. Give contact details of the respective authorities/companies if any.

3.1.1. Radar surveillance

Information available for the RIP

3.1.2. Aerial surveillance

No contact

3.1.3. Satellite surveillance

Information available for the RIP

    3.2. Oil spill combating equipment

Please, describe any oil combating equipment available for international assistance in case of oil spill.

Sweeping arms of Kampers Oil Spill Equipment BV

3.2.1. Oil recovery vessels

Booms, skimmers and boats of Meke Marine Environmental Protection Services LTD

3.2.2. Other oil spill combating equipment.

No contact

    3.3. AIS information for shipping traffic, including possibilities for backtracking and statistics based on the type of the vessels.

3.3.1. Availability of and access to AIS information - governmental and/or private companies (contact details)

Information available for the RIP

3.3.2. Participation of the institutions with AIS data management in regional AIS data servers. Describe the procedures for data exchange.

3.3.3. Format of AIS data and conditions for data exchange.

3.3.4. Collection of AIS data and retrieval of archival data. Describe the timeframe for use of archival data.

    3.4. VTS (VTMIS) information for shipping traffic and operational risk assessment

3.4.1. Description of the VTS (VTMIS) system (provider of the software, software version, year of implementation, incorporation of AIS data for backtracking (period for backtracking, etc.) in use and contact details of the respective authorities engaged with this service.

3.4.2. Incorporation of risk assessment in VTS service. Classifications schemes.

3.4.3. Implementation of other risk assessment technologies in shipping traffic management and oil pollution (general and/or operational).

    3.5. Communication information

3.5.1. Operational institutions in case of oil spill - contact points (MRCC, environmental protection units, private companies, etc.)

Information available for the RIP

3.5.2. Contact details of all specialized companies for combating oil pollution.

Information available for the RIP

3.5.3. Contact details of specialized institutions in charge with modeling of movement of oil spill on the sea surface.

Information available for the RIP

    3.6 Operational information on ship generated waste (oil)

3.6.1. Information from inspections of ships for compliance with MARPOL 73/78 requirements.

3.6.2. Generation of "MARPOL Black List" of substandard ships.

3.6.3. Information on requirements for using of port reception facilities in Black Sea ports for implementation of requirements of MARPOL regarding reception of ship generated wastes (oil) - description of the existing tax system; contact details of authorities/companies, responsible for reception of ship generated wastes (oil).

Türkiye is responsible to apply all MARPOL 73/78 requirements through Istanbul Denizcilik Mustesarligi; Kiyi Emniyeti Genel Mudurlugu and Cevre Bakanligi. which hold reports from inspections of ships.

Information available for the RIP

    3.7 Information to facilitate decision making

3.7.1. Crude oils, lubrication oils and fuel oils characteristics. Please, describe the oils imported/exported from ports with respective characteristics (or link to the Web page where this info is available). (

3.7.2. Estimation of the behavior of oil on the sea surface - ADIOS, etc. What kind of software is used for this purpose in your country?

Information available for the RIP

3.7.3. Possibilities to use dispersants (supported by software for decision making) What is the national regulation for use of dispersants in combating oil pollution in the sea?

3.7.4. Internet based model for prediction of oil spills movement (supported by a near real time model for sea surface currents for the regions of interest, using existing or predicted meteorological conditions)

What model is in use? Who operates the model? What hydro-meteo information is used (describe sources and format of data)?

4. Archive information on oil pollution

    4.1. Visual information - pictures, videos

    4.2. Descriptive information - case studies of oil spills with EIA if available

        4.2.1. Standard form for reporting of case studies of oil spills, if any.

        4.2.2. Method for archiving of the reports.

        4.2.3. Access to the archive information.

    4.3. Monitoring information (raw data and data analyses) - "in situ" studies (water and sediments)

        4.3.1. Total hydrocarbons

        4.3.2. Aliphatics

        4.3.3. Aromatics

        4.3.4. PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls)

        4.3.5. Pesticides

5. Archive information on shipping traffic

    5.1 Classification by ports and type of ships

    5.2 Classification by routes and type of ships

    5.3 Using AIS and VTS/VTMIS to generate statistics.

6. Visualization of the information

    6.1. Using of electronic maps/charts to display the required information.

    6.2. Using of GIS concept to display the geographical information in layers.

    6.3. Possibilities to superimpose the information from different sources on the same electronic maps/charts, including satellite images for probable oil spills.

7. Access to the information collected by different institutions and possibilities to link the existing databases to the RDIS.

Please, describe the requirements of the respective institutions, if any.


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