EMSA issues tender for at-sea oil recovery services

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will shortly be publishing in the Official Journal of the European Union a new tender for at-sea oil recovery services in the Atlantic, West Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea areas. In principle, this is the third and final tendering round which will enable EMSA to complete the network of vessels necessary to 'top up' the efforts of coastal states should a large spill occur.


In the field of pollution response, EMSA has been tasked with the following:


  • To provide Member States and the Commission with technical and scientific assistance in the field of accidental or deliberate pollution by ships.
  • To support upon request with additional means in a cost efficient way the pollution response mechanisms of Member States.


To date, the Agency has established an at-sea oil recovery capacity through renewable three-year contracts with the spill response and shipping industries in the Baltic Sea, Atlantic Coast and Mediterranean Sea areas.


The 2007 tender will establish three-year renewable contracts with commercial ship-owners and/or operators and/or spill response organisations/manufacturers. The current system (and that which is sought by the Agency for the third round of contracts) is that vessels carry out their normal commercial activities until such time as the Agency receives a request for assistance from a Member State or the Commission to respond to a marine oil spill. At this point, they will be rapidly transformed into oil recovery vessels and made available for at-sea oil recovery activities. Vessels therefore have to be available at short notice during the whole period of the contract for pollution response activities.


EMSA would like to encourage a comprehensive arrangement based around a "pool" of pre-fitted vessels, from which one or more could be mobilised. The number of vessels that could be mobilised would be pre-agreed in the relevant contract.


Following any pre-fitting works, these vessels will ideally have large recovered oil storage capacity and "state of the art" equipment (such as a slick detection system), as well as a choice of oil recovery systems (sweeping arm or boom and skimmer). The specialised oil spill response-related equipment will either be stored permanently onboard or containerised to facilitate rapid installation onboard the vessels.


Information meetings on the tender will be conducted in March in various countries and a provisional timetable is available on the EMSA website.


For more information, please see: the "Prior Information Notice" (ref: 2007/S 30-035502) under the "Procurement" area of the Agency website (www.emsa.europa.eu).


Contact: Tim Wilkins