Transportation of liquid bulk chemicals by tankers in the Baltic Sea

Saara Hänninen, Jorma Rytkönen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    While gathering information about oil transportation for VTT Publication 547, Oil transportation and terminal development in the Gulf of Finland (2004), the question about other harmful substances transported in liquid bulk was raised. The Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA) have made it possible for us to continue the work on tanker transportations by financing this study. The area has been widened to cover the entire Baltic Sea. This publication introduces the statistics concerning the chemicals handled in liquid bulk in the Baltic Sea ports in 2004. The data is based on the public registers, data files and announcements of port authorities and operators. A special questionnaire on transported chemicals, and specifically on bulk form chemicals, was made for ports. Some of the ports have expressed their concern about giving what they consider to be sensitive information; alas, the data in this publication is not to be considered full and complete, but it does give an indication of where chemical tankers are sailing. The latest comprehensive study about chemical transportations in the Baltic Sea was made by HELCOM in 1990 (Study of the Risk for Accidents and the Related Environmental Hazards from the Transportation of Chemicals by Tankers in the Baltic Sea Area). HELCOM statistics were gathered by a thorough collection of data in all Baltic Sea ports during the entire year of 1987. Unfortunately, this specific and time-consuming means of data acquisition was impossible with this publication due to the time scale of the project. Some of the most dangerous or most common chemicals were selected and briefly analysed on the basis of their environmental impact if released into the water. The risk of chemical outflow has also been discussed within the collision and grounding modes. A special chapter related to the Northern Baltic waters has been written on the risk of winter navigation for chemical transportation. Discussion has also been carried out on the fate of chemicals spilled on water and on the physical fundamentals when trying to control them; finally, some scenarios are presented on potentially high-risk areas. Marine chemical transportation is constantly growing in regard of the number of chemicals and the total volume of goods transported. Today, the number of different substances and compounds is quoted in thousands. A great many of these chemicals are dangerous to the environment, and even though the risk of a chemical accident is considered small due to very high standards regarding safety, it does exist. Even if chemical tankers do take safety aspects into consideration, there are a number of other ships in the same sea area, as well as a number of ships crossing their paths and meeting each other in narrow sounds or in dense traffic areas. The safety practices of chemical tankers are among the best. Maritime society has also introduced several new actions to improve maritime safety. It is a well known fact that the number of large scale oil and chemical spills has declined during the last decades. This fact shows that recent measures such as phase out of single hull tankers, stricter legislation, IMO actions, Erika packages, etc. have improved the safety of ships and routes. However, around 80% of all incidents and accidents are due to the human factor, for example human/machine interaction or cultural behaviour. Thus even though new technical means (VTS, AIS, ECDIS, etc.) have been established to improve safety, there is a lot of work to be done to prevent accidents and environmental damage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages155
    ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6703-X
    ISBN (Print)951-38-6702-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Publications


    • chemicals
    • chemical transport
    • maritime transport
    • Baltic Sea
    • environmental impacts
    • safety
    • pollution
    • tankers
    • ports
    • harbours


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