EMSA launches tender for stand-by oil spill recovery vessels

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is launching a new procurement procedure for stand-by oil spill recovery vessels in the Black Sea and North Sea areas. The 2008 tender will establish three-year renewable contracts with commercial ship owners and/or operators and/or spill response organisations and/or manufacturers.


The related "Contract Notice", published on 8 March 2008 in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), has the associated "Invitation to Apply" deadline of 29th April.


All relevant information, e.g. technical specifications, legal and financial documentation requested, is available through the EMSA website under the "Procurement" section (www.emsa.europa.eu/end185d014d013d001.html).


EMSA was created in the aftermath of the Erika accident and in the specific field of pollution response, EMSA has been tasked with the following:


"To provide Member States & the Commission with technical & 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 a network of stand-by oil spill recovery vessels along the Atlantic Coast and in the Mediterranean Sea through contracts with the spill response and shipping industries in the Baltic Sea.


The 2008 tender aims to strengthen the network in the Black and North Seas areas through three-year renewable contracts with commercial ship-owners and/or operators and/or spill response organisations/manufacturers awarded through a public procurement procedure. The current system, and that which is sought by the Agency in 2008, is that vessels carry out their normal commercial activities until such time as the Agency receives a request for assistance from a coastal 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.


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 & skimmer). The specialised oil spill response related equipment will either be stored permanently onboard or containerised to facilitate rapid installation onboard the vessels. (For more information please consult the EMSA leaflet "Effective at-sea pollution response" available under the "Pollution Response" area of their website (www.emsa.europa.eu).


Contact: Tim Wilkins