Offshore Response Systems in
reference of bioremediation Tech.
An oil spill is a release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into
the environment due to human activity or any accident, and is a
form of pollution. Oil spills include releases of crude oil from
tankers, offshore platforms , drilling rigs and wells, as well as
spills of refined petroleum products(such as gasoline, diesel) and
their by-products, and heavier fuels used by large ships such as
bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.
So, Oil spills are a major menace to the environment which they
severely damage the surrounding ecosystems.
In case of oil spillage, it is required to have an effective oil
management systems, oil spillage emergency response team and
national contingency plan for prompt action against this pollution
during oil spillage accident
Offshore Response Systems
The prime focus of oil spill countermeasures activities is in prevention
and planning. This is achieved through well-designed equipment, good
maintenance and operating procedures, sound training techniques, and
a high degree of awareness and concern at all levels by employees and
management. Prevention and mitigation measures should plan for any
accidents include: 24-hour manned automated monitoring for any kind
of oil spillage, leak detection systems in pipelines & tank farm areas,
visual monitoring, and emergency shut down systems for storage and
During accident all concerned agencies should take positive measures
to deal with the oil spills within their area and stringent preventive &
controlled actions, viz; vessel control with modern equipments with
proper port inspection. Agencies should have an effective oil spill
There should be mandatory audit of Tier-1,tier-2 & Tier-3 facilities
supported by legal rules surveillance systems by ports against illegal
discharge area of responsibility for oil spill response, standarization of
inventory for all tiers capabilities, promulgation of optimum response
time for responding to oil spills by offshore installation operator and
formation of committee to address oil spill response
Offshore Response option decision
Offshore response options include:
Surveillance and tracking
Mechanical containment and recovery
Modern tools & equipments
1-Surveillance and tracking
A systems of surveillance for oil spill should be developed to stop it at
the early stage, before it pollutes the coastline beaches.
An accurate assessment and evaluation of oil spill incident is essential
prior to any appropriate spill control and clean up procedure and
response can be activated. The basic issues need to be addressed
towards a realistic assessment of the nature and size of the possible
threat and of the resources most at risk bearing in mind the probable
movement and expected trajectory of the spill as controlled by the
forces of nature.
OSC/OCA should to expeditiously deploy an aircraft from the nearest
Coast Guard in case of accident. The aerial surveillance report should
amplify such information as extent of spill blanket, spill profile, type of oil
spill, identify source of spill, assess geographical features of land,
identify potential ecological sensitive areas adjoining the area of spill
and marine weather parameters to verify predictions. The surveillance
may utilize IR/UV coverage to record ground realities of spill for analysis
Mechanical recovery, or the physical removal of oil from the
environment, is the method that is usually perceived as the least
harmful to the environment. However, mechanical recovery usually is
able to recover only a small fraction of the spilled oil. Experience has
indicated that recovery of more than 20% of the original spill volume is
seldom achieved in marine spills. In fact, in open water under strong
current and wind conditions, recovery of only to 10% is not uncommon.
Therefore, mechanical recovery is normally used in conjunction with
other methods. In its simplest form, mechanical recovery relies on a
skimmer capable of removing oil from the surface of the water and
pumping it to a storage vessel for subsequent treatment and disposal.
There are two types of oil, persistent and non-persistent. Oil spill
response techniques are based on the type of oil. Mechanical recovery
is the best option, but needs to be applied quickly, preferably within six
hours, before spilled oil can spread and emulsify through the action of
the waves. Application of dispersant and type of dispersant needs to
follow the guidelines issued by the EPA & MOEF. Dispersant chemicals
should have a toxicity test and be certified by a recognized laboratory as
approved by the proposed Entity.
Chemical dispersants are used to break oil slicks into fine
droplets that then disperse into the water column. This prevents
oil from being driven by wind and currents toward shore and
promotes its biodegradation at sea. Key aspects of dispersant
use are listed below-
Dispersants should be considered for use with other potential spill
response methods and equipment, and not as a last resort.
For maximum effectiveness, dispersants should be applied as
soon as possible after a spill. During the early stages of a spill,
the oil is unweathered and less spread out, making it easier to
In-situ burning (burning oil in place) can quickly eliminate large
quantities of spilled oil. Spill response planners now recognize
that there are various situations where controlled in-situ burning
can be conducted quickly, safely and efficiently. Significant
advances in techniques and equipment for in-situ burning have
been made in recent years.
The in-situ burning of spilled oil offers the following advantages:
Burning removes large quantities of oil rapidly and efficiently.
Burning can prevent or minimize the amount of oil that reaches
Burning can often be used in situations where skimming is
physically or logistically impossible.
Burning greatly reduces the need for storage and disposal
facilities near the slick area.
In-situ burning by containing the spilled oil with a fire resistant
boom is an accepted technology but rarely applied due to
difficulty in application and safety reasons
(a) Some of the tools used to control oil in a spill include ‘booms’, which
are floating barriers used to clean oil from the surface of water and to
prevent slicks from spreading. A boom can be placed around the tanker
that is spilling oil. Booms collect the oil off the water. A boom may be
placed somewhere before an oil spill. They can also be placed around
an entrance to the ocean, like a stream. They also can be placed
around a habitat with many animals living there. These booms absorb
any oil that flows around it.
The workers can also use skimmers. Skimmers are boats that can
remove the oil off the water. Skimmers which use pumps or vacuums to
remove oil as it float on water.
Smart sponge booms & Skimmer-It is an unique Oeliophylic Polymer
which is chemically selective to absorb Oil & other hydrocarbons.
It encapsulates Oil & hydrocarbon, resulting in substantially more
effective response that prevent absorbed oil from leaching. Once the oil
is absorbed, the Smart sponge transform the pollutants into a stable
solid for easy recycling, providing a close loop solution to water pollution
in a sea or effected area.
Physical methods are used to clean up shorelines. Natural processes
such as evaporation, oxidation, and biodegradation can start the
cleanup process, but are generally too slow to provide adequate
environmental recovery. Physical methods, such as wiping with sorbent
materials, pressure washing, and raking and bulldozing can be used to
assist these natural processes.
Gelling Agents-Gelling agents, also known as solidifiers, are chemicals
that react with oil to form rubber-like solids. With small spills, these
chemicals can be applied by hand and left to mix on their own. For
treating larger spills, the chemicals are applied to the oil, then mixed in
by the force of high-pressure water streams. The gelled oil is removed
from the water using nets, suction equipment, or skimmers, and is
sometimes reused after being mixed with fuel oil.
Scare tactics are used to protect birds and animals by keeping them
away from oil spill areas. Devices such as propane scare-cans, floating
dummies, and helium-filled balloons are often used, particularly to keep
Oil spill response equipment:
The maintenance and service of oil spill response equipment are
important functions to ensure their readiness for immediate
response. Most equipment is manufactured and supplied by the
overseas parties. It is, therefore, difficult to get any assistance
from the indigenous source for their repair or maintenance during
The below are the following facilities, equipments,
and technologies which could be the reasons of
better response system in case of oil spill
1-Bioremediation 2-Insitu burning 3-Oil skimmers 4-sorbents
with fire proof
5-Oil booms 6-Oil recovery 7-debris recovery 8-oil spill kits
9-Bildge waste 10-crocodile 11-power packs 12-incinerator
13-pumps 14-vacuum 15-ancillary 16-oil/water
systems equipments separator
17-hyper absorbent peat moss could clean up oil spills
Bioremediation consists of using living organisms like bacteria,
fungi, actinomycetes, cynobacteria and to a lesser extent plants,
to clean toxic pollutants. These organisms may be naturally
occurring or genetically modified in a laboratory. These
microorganisms eat up the pollutant or assimilate. Bioremediation
harnesses this natural process by promoting the growth or rapid
multiplication of these organisms that can either effectively
degrade or eat specific contaminants and convert them to non
hazardous bi-products. Bioremediation is an ecofriendly approach
and state of the art technique that employs natural biological
process for complete elimination of hazardous pollutants.
ANALYSIS: Each year approximately 1 million tonnes of oil
enters the environment through natural petroleum leaks .At these
volumes and concentrations, ocean bacteria breaks down all oil
because the rate of release from natural oil seeps is low.
However, during man-made spills, the amount of oil can
overwhelm the natural microbial community, allowing it to spread
and wash ashore, causing substantial environmental and
Types of bioremediation:
Biostimulation provides nutrients and suitable physiological
conditions for the growth of the cultivated microbial populations.
This promotes increased metabolic activity, which then degrades
Bioaugmentation means introduction of specific blends of
laboratory–cultivated microorganism into a contaminated
environment or into a bioremediation pit to initiate the process.
Why Use Bioremediation:
Bioremediation is environment safe, enhanced natural process
that consumes hydrocarbons and converts them to non-
There are no other pollution generation as it is a clean technology
and it reduces the disposal costs.
Treated contaminants can be used as a bio fertilizer in agriculture
or as a substitute to farm yard manure and as a soil amendment
to improve soil texture.
It is the most economically feasible method for the safe
disposal of the oily sludge as compared to the other options
including incineration and an engineered landfill site.
This technique is not only cost-effective but resource-productive
as well; by producing saleable manure as an end product
The technique of bioremediation also helps in avoiding the
harmful emissions of the dioxins from the incinerator.
Instead of transforming contaminants from one medium to
another. It totally eliminates the target chemical without any
Can be done either on-site of off-site.
Ramsorb: Cleans oil pollutants
Oil spills into the terrestrial & aquatic environments are common now, as
we have seen 2-3 oil spills accident, caused due to collision of Msc
Chitra & khalijia and MV Rak recently, ONGC pipe line leakage, tar ball
occurrences at Goa beaches. However ,oil spill occur in our harbours,
inside or outside refinery premises, due to leakage from pipelines, due
to accidents of oil carrying tankers etc.
Both the problems of devastating oil spill and oily sludge from refineries
can be dealt with using Ramsorb. It is effective, low cost, leaves behind
no side effects residues. RAMSORB is a hydrocarbon absorbent
product that contains indigenous petroleum-digesting bacteria within its
cellulose structure. The unique encapsulation properties of RamSorb
augment wicking of hydrocarbons from surrounding soil when mixed by
tilling. The hydrocarbons remain encapsulated until degradation is
complete while preventing leaching to surrounding soils.
Ramsorb is a modified cellulosic fibre containing oil eating bacteria with
all necessary ingredients ,viz.; nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorous etc. It is
activated by the addition of moisture, these bacteria have an ideal
conditions within which to reproduce and rapidly accumulate to the
available hydrocarbon food source.
In bioremediation, no two situations are identical, making it very difficult
to formulate recipe-type instructions for all cases; however a few
standardized steps should be taken that will assure better than average
success. if this procedure is followed, a minimal degradation of 40%
should be achieved every 30 days. In optimal conditions, we‘ve
achieved as much as 80-90% reduction in 30 days.
Though the results from monitoring bioremediation applications were not
unequivocally positive, they provided some very important pieces of
information about bioremediation and its performance at oil spills.
Data collected at the Mumbai oil Spill, due to an accident between Msc-
chitra & khalijia, clearly showed that, bioremediation could not be
measured in minutes or even hours, but only over a period of weeks to
months. The difficulty in comparing oil concentrations in sediments
between bioremediated and control sites & oil sticked on the vegetative
surface of mangroves was a confounding factor in measuring
Positive information gained about bioremediation was that background
microbial degradation occurred at faster rates than many had expected,
especially in the relatively normal or at cold temperatures. This fact was
encouraging for those who support an approach of minimal intervention
after oil spills as a viable option under certain circumstances
Although bioremediation holds great promise for dealing with intractable
environmental problems, it is important to recognize that much of this
promise has yet to be realized. Specifically, much needs to be learned
about how microorganisms interact with different hydrologic
environments. As this under-standing increases, the efficiency and
applicability of bioremediation will grow rapidly. Because of its unique
interdisciplinary expertise in microbiology, hydrogeology, and
So, It’s a most preferred and most viable technology to combat Oil or
hydrocarbon pollution, only suitable and best response systems to
SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT IN ECO-FRIENDLY MANNER without
giving any adverse effects on flora fauna & overall environment & this is
a way to adopt the sustainable developments in country.
Presented by: Safar Mohammad Khan
Green Apple Environmental Technologies-Delhi