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Some views on OIL SPILLS
07.03.2011 at 17:34

Samardžija Ljubomir, professor

Key words: Oil spills, responsibility, ecological risk areas, Arctic.


Examples of ever increasing and more dangerous oil spills in marine environment starting with Exxon Valdez oil tanker grounding and concluding with the oil spill from Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig demand for a new approach in the process of oil contamination hazard management and consideration of the consequences for flora and fauna in context of advancing climate changes in ecological risk areas of the Arctic.
There are two opposed aspects that convince oil companies to encroach upon more intensive oil exploitation in international waters of northern Atlantic in near future: one is new technology, and the other is the cost-effectiveness of oil drilling in great depths in “low”- temperature conditions which was not the case previously.

There is a problem of how to regulate these aspects considering those are international – no-man’s – waters. Moreover, it is still undefined whether there is an entity that will control if the oil company fulfils the exploitation conditions such as the quality of their plans of rehabilitation of eventual consequences, and whether they have the equipment and staff to manage this risk.

The UN – UNEP position or of any other international organisation in this area is not sufficiently clarified. And it is not clear enough how to initiate the procedure and get the concession and who to and how to pay the fees. We are all witnesses that some countries whose territories border the Atlantic have already “usurped” international waters all up to the North Pole.

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        Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money?