Research Article Open Access

Remediation Technologies for Marine Oil Spills: A Critical Review and Comparative Analysis

D. Dave and A.E. Ghaly


Problem statement: Anthropogenic activities pollute the oceans with oil through land run off, vessels accidents, periodic tanker discharges and bilge discharges. Oil spills are environmental disasters that impact human, plants and wild life including birds, fish and mammals. Approach: In this study, the International Guidelines for Preventing Oils Spills and Response to Disasters were reviewed and the characteristics of oil spills were discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of various oil spill response methods were evaluated. A comparative analysis were performed on the currently available remediation technologies using 10 evaluation criteria that included cost, efficiency, time, impact on wild life, reliability, level of difficulty, oil recovery, weather, effect on physical/chemical characteristics of oil and the need for further treatment. The advantages and disadvantages of each response method were used to determine the score assigned to that method. Results: There are many government regualtions for individual countries that serve as prevention mesures for oil spills in the offshore environment. They have to do with the design of equipment and machinery used in the offshore environment and performing the necessary safety inspections. The primary objectives of response to oil spill are: to prevent the spill from moving onto shore, reduce the impact on marine life and speed the degradation of any unrecovered oil. There are several physical, chemical, thermal and biological remediation technologies for oil spills including booms, skimmers, sorbents, dispersants, in-situ burning and bioremediation. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages and the choice of a particular technique will depend on: type of oil, physical, biological and economical characteristics of the spill, location, weather and sea conditions, amount spilled and rate of spillage, depth of water column, time of the year and effectiveness of technique. Coclusion: Based on the comparative analysis, oil recovery with mechanical methods and the application of dispersants followed by bioremediation is the most effective response for marine oil spill.

American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 7 No. 5, 2011, 423-440


Submitted On: 21 September 2011 Published On: 2 November 2011

How to Cite: Dave, D. & Ghaly, A. (2011). Remediation Technologies for Marine Oil Spills: A Critical Review and Comparative Analysis. American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 7(5), 423-440.

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  • Marine oil spill
  • spill prevention
  • response to spill
  • booms
  • skimmers
  • dispersants
  • in-situ burning
  • bioremediation
  • aesthetic appeal
  • oil recovery