Polluter and partners

Aside from all notion of fault, the shipowner or the
operator of the establishment at the source of the
pollution, or one of their commercial partners, may
voluntarily play a role in response. Their involvement, wherever possible, is sought after and appreciated by the authorities in charge.

In this regard, shipowners of oil tankers have at their disposal a technical advisory unit, the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd. (ITOPF), which intervenes worldwide. Many also have access to crisis units, sometimes with personnel trained in pollution response.

The oil industry has created an association in charge of, amongst other things, promoting environmentally friendly response techniques, known as the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA).




The main international groups have set up response cooperatives equipped with response resources prepared such that they may be delivered in a few hours across the world by aircraft.

Certain members of the oil industry also have an active policy of research collaboration to develop dispersants, bioremediation agents and anti-adherent biofilms made from alginates. They work towards refining clean-up techniques for sensitive sites or sites which are difficult to access, and to
improve polluted wildlife rescue means.

Today, oil spill response often calls, according to the orders of the public authority in charge, upon a combination of national and international, public and private means. Furthermore, responders from both public and private sectors train and carry out
exercises together, both on a national and international scale, to respond to pollution which ignores international borders.

Oil response cooperatives

The Total group created and manages the Fast Oil Spill Team (FOST), a rapid response structure based in Rognac, near Marseille (France). It is also a member of the largest emergency intervention oil cooperative which intervenes throughout the world, Oil Spill Response and East Asia Response Limited, which has bases located in Southampton (Great Britain), Singapore and Bahrain.