Fighting oil spills in the Baltic Sea

Sustainability assured 2011In October, Wärtsilä learned that a Finnish oil spill response unit lacked equipment. Wärtsilä decided to donate the equipment needed to replenish the unit as a part of on-going co-operation with the Baltic Sea Action Group, a Finnish NGO. Now the Oilbuster container is ready to be moved to a disaster area at short notice and the equipment is available for use by WWF volunteers.

The Baltic Sea is the world's busiest sea and one of the most polluted. Around 150 million tonnes of oil is transported annually to ports along the coast of the Gulf of Finland alone. Narrow straits and channels make navigation difficult, while heavy traffic and ice during winter further increase the risk of accidents.

The Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) is an independent organisation that does valuable work to preserve and rescue the Baltic Sea. It gathers practical action commitments from companies and other organisations to help secure the future of the sea, while co-ordinating a number of local initiatives as well. Focus areas include the adverse effects caused by agriculture, maritime activities and hazardous substances.

In 2010, Wärtsilä made three commitments with the BSAG: to promote the installation of sulphur-removing scrubbers on vessels sailing the Baltic Sea, to offer consultancy services, and to increase the availability of environmental training to ship operators and crew.

In October 2011, Wärtsilä took advantage of another opportunity to support the group’s work. During a meeting at the BSAG office it was learned that another Finnish company, Muuttopalvelu Niemi, had donated a container to be used by WWF volunteers as an oil spill response unit, but that the container lacked equipment. Wärtsilä soon offered to donate the needed items, including a variety of tools for cleaning, protective equipment for the volunteers, an aggregate for producing energy, and a tent for shelter.

This ‘Oilbuster’ container is constantly ready to be moved to an oil disaster area or crash site, and will also be used in oil spill response rehearsals.

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