Number of observed oil discharges have remained nearly unchanged

In 2016, the number of suspected illegal discharges of oil reported to Finnish authorities remained almost unchanged compared to the previous year. Eventually, 48 of the discharges were confirmed to be oil, whereas the corresponding number in 2015 was 47.

Investigations concerning illegal oil discharge were started in nine cases. The majority of the discharges were some dozens of litres that took place near harbours or shores. The largest individual discharge released as much as an estimated 1150 litres of oil into the sea.

The Baltic Sea is classified as a very sensitive marine area, because of which discharging oil into the sea is prohibited. The number of discharges in open sea areas has been on the decrease in recent years. However, seafarers are urged to also pay more attention to their activities in harbours in future.

Oil discharge surveillance is a joint international effort

Oil discharge surveillance is carried out in marine areas with the help of aerial surveillance and satellite imaging with the CleanSeaNet satellite imaging service of the European Maritime Safety Agency EMSA. In 2016, approximately 250 satellite images were taken from Finnish marine areas and any potential discharges detected in the images were always verified on site.

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) obliges all Baltic Sea states to carry out regular aerial surveillance in their marine areas. [...]

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For more information on the CleanSeaNet satellite imaging service at