The ISCO Secretary has written to all of the twenty-two ISCO Corporate Members who have advised their interest in being part of the ISCO correspondence group. The purpose of the Correspondence Group is to assist ISCO in relaying the views of members  and help define how ISCO can most effectively ensure that the private sector within the spill response community contributes ideas and recommendations in regard to this important project for streamlining the mobilisation of spill combat resources during major incidents.



The new RRI web page can be accessed within the Members’ Area of the ISCO website. You will need to log in and select IMO from the menu on the left hand side of the home page, then select Work Groups and finally, RRI project.


The web page takes you through the history of the RRI concept and will be updated as the project develops.


For members who have not yet joined the Group, it’s not too late.  Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


ISCO President  David Usher,  Secretary John McMurtrie and Honorary Member Dr Douglas Cormack will be representing ISCO at the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group meeting which takes place over 24-28 September 2012.


ISCO President David Usher and Honorary Member Dr Douglas Cormack will be representing ISCO at the IMO MEPC meeting  which runs from 1st  to 5th October 2012.


Michael Stacey, a member of the ISCO executive committee and one of our most stalwart supporters is in hospital having recently suffered a serious stroke.


He is making good progress towards recovery and your Secretary has been helping to keep his friends updated.


If you would like to receive news, please send an emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


I am sure that members and readers will join in sending Michael best wishes.




ISCO’s recently elected Member of Council representing India will be speaking at the forthcoming Oil Spill India Conference taking place at the Holiday Inn Resort at Goa over 13-15 September 2012.  Capt Sekhar strongly supports ISCO’s aims and hopes that, by informing attendees at the conference about the organization, he will be able to help ISCO to grow its membership in India. Capt. Sekhar has been managing director of AlphaMERS Pvt. Ltd. since 2010. He began his sea-going career as a cadet in 1980 and progressed through the ranks in the Merchant Navy gaining experience in tanker operations as a junior and senior officer.  Among his qualifications he is an experienced auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISM Code, ISPS Security Code. He is a trained marine incident investigator and experienced in tanker fleet risk management. The full name of his company, which is based in Bangalore, is Alpha Marine Emergency Services Private Limited. The company provides pollution control services for the marine industry.



Are you a response contractor, equipment manufacturer or spill response expert ?


The deadline for Corporate Members of ISCO to register their interest in joining the ISCO Correspondence Group has been extended.

As reported in previous issues of the ISCO Newsletter, an international group has stared to work on the creation of an international Response Resource Inventory (RRI) for spill response. The initiative is part of a project introduced at the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee by the delegation of the United States.





Here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you about ISCO’s past and future.


When ISCO was founded in 1984, its focus was support of government agencies in dealing with environmental issues.  Since then, our mission has expanded to serve as a voice for the response industry as well as providing advice and support to national governments and international organizations.   This reflects the growing sophistication and complexity of our profession.


In 2005, the organization re-launched itself, and what followed was an increase in membership and in readership of the ISCO Newsletter.


In 2007 we were granted consultative status with IMO as an NGO for oil and hazardous substances pollution control activities, and we’re very pleased that IMO acknowledges our participation.


Recently, our presence at the various spill control conferences has led more professionals to become aware of and appreciate the information ISCO provides in the weekly newsletter.  This has encouraged us to consider inaugurating an international conference next year.


Now we are ready to start up our Professional Membership initiative, which has been requested by many who are active in pollution control.


I’m very proud to be associated with John McMurtrie, our Secretary and Editor, and want to acknowledge him for his tireless efforts and commitment in what we are doing for environmental issues.  He is a driving force in helping the membership grow, something we need to support these activities and programs.


We’re thankful for the participation of all the members we have, and we encourage those who are not yet members to join.  This is an exciting time for ISCO.


Plans are under way to introduce some important changes in the ISCO website. A new feature – Country Pages – is to be introduced within the Members’ Area and will be designed to help Members in each country to network and get to know each other better.


In preparation for the delayed implementation of the Professional Membership initiative new pages are being created - About Professional Membership


■ Application Form ■ Code of Conduct  ■ Assessment Guidelines ■ Appeals Policy ■ Complaints Procedure.


On the advice of our insurers and legal advisors, new ISCO Terms and Conditions are also being introduced and will be accessible on the updated website.


All Corporate Members of ISCO should check their entries.  The International Directory has just been updated and it is possible that there may be some mistakes or omissions.


Company entries are in four categories –  To view your entries click on the headings below in the International Directory menu on the left hand side of the page










Things you should check –


1. Are the hyperlinks to your website working correctly?


2. Is your company appropriately listed in the various categories?


3. Are there any errors that require correction?


Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to report any errors and request corrections to be made.

Entries are free of charge for Corporate Members but our IT contractor will make a one time only charge of £20 for uploading banners.  If you don’t have a suitable banner, one can be created for only £100.


If you are an individual member providing services in one or more of the four categories and would like to be listed in the International Directory, you will need to apply for Corporate Membership.


Non members can advertise in the International Directory at a cost of £500 per entry per annum, but for most non-members the most economical way to secure a listing in the directory is be to become a Member. Check the rates below –


Corporate (> 500 employees) £ 1,650  or $ 2,600  or € 1,900

Corporate (100-499 employees) £ 1,320  or $ 2,100  or € 1,500

Corporate (50-99 employees) £ 660  or $ 1,100  or € 765

Corporate (10-49 employees) £ 330  or $ 530  or € 405

Corporate (< 10 employees) £ 165  or $ 270  or € 190


As a Corporate Member, you can have free entries in one or more of the relevant categories.


Over the last few months ISCO has welcomed the following new members –


Industry Partners


University of Petroleum & Energy Studies (India)


Corporate Members

Ikaros Cleantech AB (Sweden)

Crucial Inc. (USA)

KBKM & Associates (USA)

Clean Harbors (USA)

Enviro Voraxial Technology Inc. (USA)

Eco Strategic Consultants (Australia)

Edge Group (UK)

Maritim Miljo-Beredskap AS (Norway)

Dim. G. Lignos & Co. (Greece)

Swire Emergency Response Services (Dubai

Marine Response Alliance (USA)

Pelagic Solutions Ltd. (Belize)

International Environmental & Marine Services (Egypt)


Honorary Member

Dr Wierd Koops (Netherlands)


Individual Members

Carlos Sagrera  (Uruguay)

Dwight Lindley (USA)

Heather Parker (USA)

Muhammad Saber (Saudi Arabia)

Justin Maxwell (USA)

Prof. Chijioke Ikokwu (Nigeria)


clean pacific 2012 1

A happy moment at the ISCO booth  - From left to right - Will Kohnen (Seamagine), George Zhang (Crest Ecomaterials, China), John Allen (Executive Director, SCAA), David Usher (President,  ISCO), Charles Kohnen. (Seamagine)



In a telephone call last Saturday night, ISCO President David Usher reported that ISCO had a very successful presence at Clean Pacific.


David Usher was pleased to be able to meet up with many ISCO members attending the event and to discuss the various new initiatives that ISCO is pursuing on behalf of our members.


He said that Mary Ann Dalgleish (ISCO Membership Director) had received many enquiries from prospective new members.


He also said that several individuals had added their names to the growing list of people in the spill response community who wish to apply for Professional Membership of ISCO as soon as this becomes available.


The traditional draw for a bottle of fine malt whisky (Glenlivet this time) was won by Jane Ellen Delgado of OHMSETT.  


Pictured left  – ISCO President David Usher with Jean Cameron of Pacific States, British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force.  Jean will soon be retiring from the Task Force.  Picture below – From left to right, Will Kohnen (Seamagine), David Usher (President, ISCO), Charles Kohnen (Seamagine), Peter Eriksen (Norbit US Ltd.), Bill Hazel (MPC Corp.)









The background was given in the front page news report in last week’s ISCO Newsletter. If you didn’t see this, you can access Newsletter 334 on the ISCO website at 


In the paper on International Assistance submitted by the US delegation to the March 2012 meeting of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group the authors identified five groupings for classifying international offers of assistance …


1 Government to Government

2 Private sector to private sector

3 Private sector to Government

4 Private sector-through-Government to Government

5 offers coordinated by Regional Organizations on behalf of governments.


… and the initial thinking of the ISCO delegation is that ISCO should focus its efforts on 2.3 and 4 above.


Clearly, the project will be of extreme interest to manufacturers of response equipment and materials and contractors that own significant stockpiles. The definition of resources also includes individuals with relevant knowledge and experience.


Discussions have begun within the Working Group to address the questions of how inventory information should be collated – broad categories, types, and the use of universally accepted terms in defining resources. Also how the resource inventory should be held, accessed and maintained.  It will take time, probably at least two years, to resolve these issues but the international community represented by ISCO has a direct interest in a successful outcome.


One option could be that, in order to make progress, an interim template be created that would allow the work of collating information to begin more or less immediately. ISCO is consulting with others in the Working Group and also intends to explore the issues with its members and the Secretary will be sending out a letter in the near future.




An international group has started to work on the creation of an international Response Resource Inventory (RRI) for spill response. The initiative is part of a project introduced at the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee by the delegation of the United States.


The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) oil pollution incident highlights the importance of international stakeholder planning and coordination as a method to ensure maximum resource availability and utilization during a catastrophic oil spill or hazardous substance event.


Several nations stepped forward to assist the United States during the course of the incident.  These offers included equipment, technical expertise, and general assistance.  The generosity of support from the international partners of the United States cannot be overstated, however, the process for requesting and receiving emergency assistance during DWH was proven ineffective and antiquated.  Given today's robust worldwide oil exploration initiatives and transportation patterns, the international community must be prepared to address the challenges faced by responders under a myriad of conditions.


Lessons learned from the DWH incident indicate a need to develop collaborative processes regarding cooperation, in particular, robust mechanisms for handling and coordinating international offers of assistance during a major pollution incident.  Using the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (1990 OPRC) as a basis for the establishment of such guidelines provides the mechanism for such an undertaking.  The guidelines will address the challenges of ensuring situational awareness of the incident among Member States, while effectively supporting the response resource needs of the affected Member State.  The guidelines should identify common terminology that assists the Member State in identifying resources needed and the status and disposition of available resources.  The guidelines should also address issues related to customs and trade issues, transport logistics, categories for offers, mobilization and demobilization.  Furthermore, the guidelines should identify a specific process for costing, invoicing, and paying for resources provided.  Ideally, this would lead to the establishment of a Resources Inventory System.


The initiative was further progressed at the OPRC-HNS Technical Group Meeting in March 2012 when several delegations, including ISCO, agreed to form a Correspondence Group to work on the project and present recommendations to the next meeting of the Technical Group in September 2012.

As the organization representing the international spill response community, with a membership that includes most of the world’s leading response contractors and equipment manufacturers, ISCO is planning to focus its work on the proposed Response Resource Inventory and specifically to concentrate on the resources available from the private sector.  ISCO will be forming an internal working group and over the coming weeks and months will be consulting with interested members on how best to move forward. It is anticipated that response contractors and manufacturers will be quick to realize the commercial advantages of being part of this project.  Further developments will be reported in the ISCO Newsletter.


Dr Douglas Cormack follows up last weeks reports on initiatives on decanting settled-out water during spill response and controlled release of oil/HNS for R&D purposes.  He describes the background to the ISCO initiative in developing a more effective approach to contingency planning that properly takes into account and applies available scientific knowledge.   


The R&D programme conducted by the UK’s Warren Spring Laboratory into Oil/HNS pollution and response produced the environmental knowledge now under review in Cormack’s Column.  However, environmentalist belief in species-extinction/ecological disaster has always opposed full use of this knowledge despite being refuted by it.


Thus, we have long known that fully spread layers of Oil/HNS are too thin to produce more than a few parts per million in the top metre of the water-column; that these concentrations subsequently tend to zero by dilution and degradation within the column as a whole without significant toxic effects; that the numbers of heterotrophic bacteria at the base of the ecosystem/food-chain actually increase where oil component concentrations extend their food supply beyond the degradation-products of more complex species within the ecosystem’s organic carbon-cycle; that while oil slicks coat individual birds, the significance of the numbers thus dying are assessable only by comparison with the death/birth rates which maintain species populations; that environmentalists publish no such comparisons; and that, in any case, no incident has thus far produced the species extinction/ecological-disaster which belief expects and reality fails to deliver.  Nonetheless, it is this belief which prevents the decanting of water in incident response and the release of Oil/HNS for R&D.


However, even more paradoxically, this belief also inhibits use of safe-haven for the cargo/bunker transfer which, in preventing further release, reduces the coating of shorelines and organisms.  Again, this belief paradoxically inhibits the use of dispersants to increase the natural dispersion rates which do more to prevent the coating of shorelines and organisms than either dispersant application or mechanical recovery for which the encounter rates are limited by the layer-thinness which limits dispersed oil concentrations, whether natural or dispersant-induced.


Thus, on the basis of knowledge-acceptance/belief-rejection, ISCO is preparing a general-contingency/ incident-specific approach to response planning in which the latter will derive from the former. Thus, the contingency plan will identify the physicochemical parameters of Oil/HNS which control the floating, sinking, evaporating, emulsifying dispersing and dissolving rates of pollutants at sea and which predict the amounts remaining for dispersant treatment, mechanical recovery and/or stranding as functions of time and wind/tide vectors.  Further to stranding, the contingency plan will identify the shoreline parameters which govern pollutant adhesion/penetration, dispersion, recovery, downstream-processing, heterotrophic bioremediation, recycling and/or disposal.


Thus, the contingency plan will be a general repository of response knowledge available to all who need/want to know, while substitution of incident-specific values for the parameters relating to the substance released, and to the shorelines of interaction, will derive the incident-specific action/inaction plan for each incident in sequence.  Conversely, record keeping during implementation of incident-specific action plans will keep the general contingency plan up-to-date as a counter to the frequency of national staff changes and the infrequency of major incidents.


The intention is to bring this knowledge-accepting/belief/rejecting approach to the attention of IMO and individual member states; to publicise the familiarity of ISCO/ISAA contractors with it; and to commend them to IOPCF, ITOPF, P&I Clubs etc as cost-effective alternates to the current non-cost-effective thraldom of reality-refuted belief.   


If you are attending the Clean Pacific Conference and Exhibition please make a point of visiting ISCO at Booth 506.


ISCO President David Usher and Membership Director Mary Ann Dalgleish will be in attendance and ready to answer questions on the work that ISCO is doing for the international spill response community.  With so much going on, it’s a great time to join ISCO and gain the many benefits that membership brings. 


Following on the recent election ISCO is pleased to announce that Captain D.C. Sekhar MNI has been appointed as the Representative of India on the ISCO Council.


We offer our congratulations to Capt. Sekhar on his appointment.


Capt. Sekhar has been managing director of AlphaMERS Pvt. Ltd. since 2010. He began his sea-going career as a cadet in 1980 and progressed through the ranks in the Merchant Navy gaining experience in tanker operations as a junior and senior officer.  Among his qualifications he is an experienced auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISM Code, ISPS Security Code. He is a trained marine incident investigator and experienced in tanker fleet risk management.


Currently he is guiding in-house R&D in spill response equipment capabilities and developing a decision support system for the incident response on-scene-commander.

The full name of his company, which is based in Bangalore, is Alpha Marine Emergency Services Private Limited. The company provides pollution control services for the marine industry.


Decanting of settled-out water during skimming operations at sea


ISCO is working on a proposal to make it easier for response vessels to decant settled-out water.


The frustration experienced by responders was recently expressed by an internationally respected oil spill response expert – “It’s crazy when the sea is covered with oil as far as you can see, but it’s not only the US who enforce this rule. I have had the same answer from the Italian Coast Guard, as the rules are the same all over Europe. The rules are meant to cover normal operations and of course we all want to see low discharges into the sea, but there should be a dispensation for spills".


In situations where an oil spill recovery vessel is obliged to cease recovery operations on account of available tank capacity being completely topped up with recovered oil-water mixture, the rules do not allow settled out water to be discharged (to permit continuation of oil recovery) unless oil content is below 15ppm.


In virtually all oil spill situations it is not practicable for skimming vessels to have onboard capability to process settled-out water to ensure oil content is below the permitted limit. In order to comply with rules, the only immediately available option is to halt oil recovery.


This said, there is in fact a clause in the current MARPOL rules that does allow governments to permit decanting in specific situations but it’s not well known and certainly not something that can be quickly and easily resolved in the midst of a response action. The experience of masters of skimming vessels and on-scene-commanders is that officials will automatically refuse permission.


ISCO is proposing that guidelines be developed to allow decanting in an environmentally responsible way in accordance with the principle of net environmental benefit.  ISCO’s aim would be to get the rules amended in such a way that a ship’s master or on-scene-commander acting in conformance with these guidelines would be empowered to decant settled-out water without fear of prosecution.


• Facilitating the use of oil at sea for research, equipment evaluation and testing


The need for more effective response technologies has been highlighted by the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the higher risks posed by  increased oil industry operations in hostile and sensitive environments.


The availability of laboratory and test tank facilities is good but this does not provide a complete answer. At-sea testing and scientific evaluation using oil is an essential component of some kinds of marine spill response R&D. Consider, for example, the large body of work conducted by the British Government’s Warren Spring Laboratory in developing techniques for aerial application of oil spill dispersants – this could not have been done without using oil at sea. A current example is the need for work being done to test and evaluate performance of new technology for sub-sea oil recovery

ISCO is not advocating making it easy for all and sundry to carry out experiments with oil at sea but we do see the need for guidelines to determine the parameters under which responsible parties can be allowed to conduct  important R&D work at sea under controlled conditions.

The end objective is to facilitate the development of more effective technologies for protection of the marine environment.



Following on the submission of two nominations for the position of ISCO Member of Council for India, an election is currently under way amongst ISCO Members in India, the ISCO Council and Executive Committee to determine who will be appointed.  Each candidate has provided a CV/Personal Profile and a short statement saying how each proposes to further ISCO’s objectives.


The closing date for registering votes by email is Thursday 10 May and the successful candidate will be announced in the ISCO Newsletter of 14 May 2012.


The editor of the ISCO Newsletter is grateful to Members and Readers who send in stories for publication – especially news from those parts of the world where due to availability in English language or access via the internet is difficult. The ISCO Newsletter has readers in more than 50 countries and your help in contributing news and articles that will be of interest to the international spill response community is always appreciated. Corporate members, government agencies and other organisations are especially requested to ensure that ISCO is on the mailing list for their press releases.

ISCO AT CLEAN PACIFIC 2012 – BOOTH 506 (30/4/12)

ISCO is a media sponsor of the Clean Pacific Conference and Exhibition which takes place over May 16-17 in Long Beach California.


You are invited to visit the ISCO Booth in the Exhibition Hall.  ISCO President David Usher and Membership Director Mary Ann Dalgleish will be there and ready to give you the latest news on new ISCO initiatives and activities.


David Usher is also presenting a paper at the Conference in Session 2D – Advances in On-water and Subsurface Recovery.  This will be at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday 17th May. The title of his paper is “Using Manned Submersibles to Respond to Submerged Oil Spills.  The co-authors of the paper are David Usher, Chairman, Marine Pollution Control Corp. and Bill Hazel, Director of Marine Services, Marine Pollution Control.


Your editor is always on the lookout for interesting material.


For example, have you carried out a spill clean-up of an unusual kind – perhaps one that required you to use innovative techniques in answer to particular problems.?  If you have a good story you would like to share with our readers, please send it in.



For legal and other reasons ISCO and the ISCO Newsletter cannot, and will not, endorse products and services provided by members or other third parties.


However, we do welcome contributions about new technical developments – one of ISCO’s aims is to disseminate information to our community on new products and services, technical improvements and the realisation of new ideas for improving spill prevention and response.


In order to be accepted for publication articles should be factual and written in concise, clear language. Articles with overt sales  promotion, exaggerated claims,  or other dubious content will not be accepted.


A well written article, with one or more photos, is a great way to tell the world about a new technological advance. It is good PR and it’s free. In allocating editorial space, ISCO Members are given priority (without their support this Newsletter would not be published) but contributions from non-members may also be accepted if publication conforms with ISCO’s educational objectives.


There are still many countries that are not represented on the ISCO Council and ISCO is looking for individuals willing to serve on the Council.

The ISCO Council is composed of the appointed National Representatives of each country in which there are one or more Members of ISCO. The ISCO Council acts as an advisory and consultative body, assisting the Executive Committee on policy, new initiatives and other matters.


Countries and their representatives at this time are –


 AUSTRALIA   MrJohn Wardrop

 AZERBAIJAN   Mr Namig Gandilov

 BRAZIL   Capt. Bill Boyle

 CANADA   Dr Merv Fingas

 CHINA (Hong Kong)  Capt. Davy T. S. Lau

 CHINA (Mainland)  Mr Guobin Li

 CROATIA   Mr Darko Domovic

 EGYPT   Eng. Ashraf Sabet

 ESTONIA   Mr Torbjörn Hedrenius

 FAROE ISLANDS  Mr Pauli Einarsson

 GREECE   Prof. Harilaos  N. Psaraftis

 ISRAEL   Mr Dan Arbel

 KENYA   Mr Sanjay Gandhi

 LUXEMBOURG  Mr Joseph Braun

 NIGERIA   Chief Kola Agboke

 NORWAY   Mr Jan Allers

 SINGAPORE   Capt. Chris Richards

 SOUTH AFRICA  Mr Anton Moldan

 UAE    Dr Ali Saeed Al Ameri

 UK    Mr Kevin Miller

 USA    Dr Manik Sardessai


Countries in which members are not yet represented on the ISCO Council include  -




And in the many other countries in which ISCO does not yet have any members, there is an opportunity to become the first member in your country by joining ISCO and to submit your name for consideration as a possible Member of ISCO Council.


Any Member interested in serving on the ISCO Council should submit his/her name. Alternatively, you may recommend another person as a suitable candidate for consideration if he/she is willing to become a member and serve on the Council.


Persons wishing to be considered as members of ISCO Council should live in the country they wish to represent and should submit a short CV by email to the Secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  together with a short note describing what you feel you can do to support ISCO in achieving its objectives.


Members of Council act as the primary point of contact between the membership in each country and the Executive Committee, providing support in facilitating communications between ISCO and government ministries or agencies, and other national authorities, institutions or bodies in the countries represented. They encourage the formation of national (or regional) associations which bring together individual professionals, companies and other entities involved in spill control in their countries, as a means of raising levels of co-operation, knowledge and competence, facilitating sector recognition and creating channels of communication with governments. They are expected to promote ISCO’s objectives and encourage growth of ISCO membership in their countries, organising local meetings of members and supporting ISCO initiatives in the countries represented.

If you would like to have more information about ISCO’s objectives and the ISCO Council send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.