High risk zones

High risk zones tend to be areas such as straits and capes where several vessel routes meet.

Examples of danger zones are the Pas-de-Calais (between France and Great Britain), the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain), the Strait of Malacca (between Malasia and Indonesia) and the Bosphorus (Turkey). The increase in exportation of Russian oil across the Baltic Sea has created heavy traffic in this area, thus causing risks.

In France, every day more than 300 vessels sail by the furthest point of Brittany in one direction or another, transporting more than 600,000 tonnes of dangerous goods (petroleum products, chemicals,
radioactive or explosive substances). This area is one of the most dangerous in the world. It holds the tragic world record of the greatest tonnage of hydrocarbons spilled in accidents involving vessels.

High concentrations of vessels produce an increased risk of oil spills, which could be due to defects in a vessel’s structure, collision, or grounding.



However, the risk would neither be eliminated nor even significantly reduced if refining were to be carried out entirely in the countries where oil is produced. If consumption patterns remain as they are today, many more refined products will have to be transported over long distances, including some which require delicate handling and may be more dangerous for the environment than crude oil.

More information

Worldwide oil production and consumption and main worldwide oil transportation routes in 2004 (millions of tonnes)