Assessment of oil slick hazard and risk at vulnerable coastal sites

Mar Pollut Bull. 2015 May 15;94(1-2):84-95. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


This work gives an assessment of the hazard faced by Sicily coasts regarding potential offshore surface oil spill events and provides a risk assessment for Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA). A lagrangian module, coupled with a high resolution finite element three dimensional hydrodynamic model, was used to track the ensemble of a large number of surface trajectories followed by particles released over 6 selected areas located inside the Sicily Channel. The analysis was carried out under multiple scenarios of meteorological conditions. Oil evaporation, oil weathering, and shore stranding are also considered. Seasonal hazard maps for different stranding times and seasonal risk maps were then produced for the whole Sicilian coastline. The results highlight that depending on the meteo-marine conditions, particles can reach different areas of the Sicily coast, including its northern side, and illustrate how impacts can be greatly reduced through prompt implementation of mitigation strategies.

Keywords: MPA; Oil slick; Particle tracking; Sicily Channel; Vulnerability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Petroleum Pollution*
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sicily
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / statistics & numerical data*