This week the ISCO Newsletter welcomed new readers – members of the DG & Hazmat Group, who responded to a message to the DG & Hazmat Group forum in which the ISCO Newsletter was given a mention. The DG & Hazmat Group has been an Associate Member of ISCO since 2006.


The free newsletter published by Don Johnston of the DG & Hazmat Group is one of the best sources of world-wide news on oil /chemical spills and related events. It comes out every few days and contains about 20 pages, mainly incident reports, often accompanied by dramatic colour photos and video links. How do interested parties become members? - It’s pretty easy, there are two ways this can be done, and the simplest is to send a blank email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, visit the Group’s Home Page at:


http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/DangerousGoods/ and click on the icon "Join this Group".


ISCO is delighted that members of the DG & Hazmat Group have joined the increasing number of people on the ISCO Newsletter mailing list, helping us to make progress towards our target of 10,000 readers worldwide.


If you find the Newsletter interesting and useful, think of friends and colleagues who would like to join our readers. Just click on  


http://www.spillcontrol.org and then on "Click Here to join our Mailing List"



Apologies are due to those who have recently visited the "Useful Downloads" page of the ISCO website. "Useful Downloads" allows users to download free tools, guidance documents and software for oil and chemical spill response – but the site, with some non-responsive links and other problems, was in need of overhaul.


This work has now been done and you can have a look by clicking HERE


"Useful Downloads" is capable of further development and improvement. It would be nice to have an index of the many topics addressed with a "jump to" facility making using the site easier and faster. Any volunteers willing to help?



On behalf of ISCO, Executive Committee Member, M. Kerem Kemerli gave an excellent presentation at the recent Black Sea Environment Protection event held in Turkey. The title of the presentation was “Integrated and Co-ordinated Response to a Prospective Disaster in the Black Sea. A short Power Point version of the presentation can be viewed by clicking HERE



 david usher

The award to ISCO of Consultative Status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2007 meant that, for the first time, professionals involved in the international spill response community were given a voice at this United Nations organization.  Since then, ISCO has taken an active role at IMO, especially in contributing to the work of the Technical Group established to advance the international implementation of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol.

The work of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG) includes the development of guidelines and manuals for improving oil and chemical spill response. As professionals who are involved on a daily basis in the technical development and practice of spill response, corporate and individual members of ISCO are uniquely well qualified to contribute to the work of the TG by supporting ISCO’s efforts to gather practical knowledge that can be used in producing new technical guidelines and manuals. It is the international spill response community that has the hands-on experience of dealing with oil and HNS incidents and it’s not surprising that IMO has high expectations of the contribution that ISCO can make.


I do therefore urge you to support the work that ISCO is doing. If you haven’t already done so, you should join the organization. ISCO represents the spill control community and has members in 34 countries – most of the leading spill response manufacturers and response contractors are members, together with consultants, academic institutions, research establishments and many others. Being a member of ISCO gives positive benefits for your business and professional development.


You are also invited to share your experience and knowledge with the OPRC-HNS TG. Right now, ISCO has joined with other delegations to collate information on Marine HNS Incident Response and on Sub-Sea Oil Recovery. You can download reporting templates by clicking on these links – HNS Incident Response and Sub-Sea Oil Recovery or visit DOWNLOADS at http://www.spillcontrol.org 


There’s a pay-back for you too – The IMO OPRC-HNS TG comprises government representatives from countries that are parties to the IMO Convention, delegates from IMO regional seas organizations, and international representatives of shipping, tanker-owners, oil industry, insurance funds, ports, and others. By getting involved you can raise your profile with people who need to know who out there is developing new technologies and has the hands-on experience and knowledge in dealing with these problems. Your contributions will be acknowledged.


PS :  Please bear in mind that new developments emanating from the Deepwater Horizon spill are going to affect regulations and lead to improved equipment and techniques. ISCO will help provide you with information that will help you to be better prepared for future events.

David Usher, President of ISCO.



The 11th session of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group Meeting was completed last Friday with the approval by delegates of the TG11 report to be submitted at the 61st MEPC Meeting that starts on Monday 27September. The TG11 meeting ended with a presentation and vote of thanks to Mr Nick Quinn of New Zealand for his outstanding chairmanship of the TG over the last three sessions. Earlier in the proceedings, Mr Alexander von Buxhoeveden (Sweden) was unanimously elected as the new chairman and Mr Suh Woo Rack (Republic of Korea) as the vice-chairman for the year 2011, subject to the approval of MEPC. Delegates agreed that the quality of Mr Quinn’s leadership of the TG had been exceptional and wished him well in his new position with the Australian Marine Response Centre (AMOSC).

Work completed during TG11 included an oil spill waste management decision support tool; a joint IMO/IPIECA guidance document on sensitivity mapping for oil spill response; an operational guide on the use of sorbents; and guidelines for oil spill response in fast currents.


Presentations made during the meeting included a demonstration of a new computer-based model for support of marine HNS incident response (Dr Wierd Koops, ISCO); Deepwater Horizon (USA and IPIECA); the recent Barents Sea exercise (Norway and Russia); and the new Korean Oil Spill Training Facility (Mr Suh Woo Rack, Republic of Korea).


ISCO members will be interested to note that ISCO was invited to work with the delegations of REMPEC, USA, Spain and ITOPF in further developing a draft ISCO template for gathering information, lessons learned, and best practice relevant to marine HNS incident response, and to submit this document to TG12. ISCO, in association with other interested delegations, was also requested to continue its efforts to collate information on experience gained in marine HNS incident response and sub-sea oil recovery, relevant R&D and new technology. REMPEC is to provide a web platform for HNS-related information on its website but ISCO will, for the time being, continue to share information received with other delegations and interested parties by posting it on the IMO Work Groups HNS and Sub-Sea sections of the ISCO website.


The 61st Session of MEPC runs from Monday 27th September through to Friday 1st October and ISCO will be represented by Dr Douglas Cormack.



The 11th Session of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG11) meets in London over September 20-24. The ISCO delegation, which includes ISCO President David Usher, ISCO Secretary John McMurtrie, Rear Admiral M. L. Stacey and Dr Douglas Cormack will be joined by Dr Wierd Koops, Head of the research department of Maritime, Marine and Environment and Safety management of the NHL university of applied science. Dr Koops is also a member of the joint ISCO-ISAA international working group on developing accreditation standards for HNS incident response and will be making a presentation at TG11 on a new computer-based model for support of marine HNS incident response. Dr Cormack will also be presenting a paper on Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors

During the week after TG11, the 61st Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) runs from September 27 through to October 1. 


The eleventh session of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group meeting is fast approaching and we are disappointed to note that over the last few months there has been very little new information received from our members and other readers of the ISCO Newsletter. We would be grateful for your help.

ISCO joined with other delegations in agreeing to support the IMO Secretariat in pursuing possibilities of obtaining data on HNS incidents, including near misses, in order to address data gaps that exist and to submit that information to future meetings of the Technical Group.


The availability of data on experience and lessons learned in response to marine HNS incidents and sub-sea oil recovery needs to be improved and the ISCO delegation took the view that within the response community represented by ISCO at IMO there should be a significant source of additional information.


Information gathered will be shared with other OPRC-HNS Technical Group delegates and used in the preparation of new IMO Technical Guidelines on marine HNS response, and on sunken oil assessment and removal techniques.


What we are looking for is short case histories, with emphasis on information on the techniques used,  problems encountered and lessons learned – the kinds of experience and knowledge that you won’t find in the textbooks. We are also interested in special equipment that has been developed to deal with marine HNS incidents, and for the assessment and recovery of sunken oils.


If you can assist, please send information as a word document or PDF file to ISCO Secretary, John McMurtrie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  You can find templates for entering information at:




Please don’t worry about having to write a beautiful literary production – we’ll be happy to edit the grammar and spelling. If for reasons of commercial confidentiality you need to exclude details of clients, that will be OK – but we would like to know who you are – all contributions will be acknowledged and this is a way for you to raise your profile – it’s good to know who has the experience and knowledge in dealing with these matters.  


ISCO is pleased to welcome PERSGA (The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden) as a new member.


PERSGA is an official regional organization based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, responsible for the development and implementation of regional programmes for the protection and conservation of the marine environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and was formally established in September 1996, with the signing of the Cairo Declaration by all cooperating parties to the Jeddah Convention.


Major functions of PERSGA include the implementation of the Jeddah Convention, the Action Plan, and the Protocol. It has also been given responsibility for preparation and implementation of the SAP and related activities. PERSGA has played an active role in promoting regional cooperation and has recently supported regional workshops concerning environmental assessment (EA), Marine Protected Areas, navigation risks and living marine resources. In addition, a series of national workshops have been sponsored by PERSGA to facilitate the development and review of Country Reports prepared as part of the SAP process. 


At ISCO’s 2010 Annual General Meeting, held in London last week, Mr Li Guobin (Member of ISCO Council representing China) and Mr Simon Rickaby (Representative of Corporate Member Braemar Howells Ltd.) were elected to the Executive Committee of ISCO.


Upon his election to the Committee, Mr Li Guobin spoke in support of ISCO’s work and its relevance in China at a time when new legislation is giving added impetus to the raising of professional standards in spill response. He looks forward to making a significant contribution to the work of the organisation and to building ISCO membership in China. Due to injuries sustained while overseas, Mr Simon Rickaby was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting. All present expressed their sympathy and wished him a speedy recovery.


On completion of the business part of the meeting, the ongoing response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was discussed at length. Mr David Usher, in his capacity as President of ISCO, has been greatly in demand by CNN, NBC and other media networks as an expert commentator. There has also been an excellent international response from members and others offering technical and other support to members of the Unified Command team.


For the very first time at an ISCO meeting, use was made of an audio link to enable members in other countries to join in the meeting via the internet.


Minutes of the meeting will be circulated to members in the near future.



The ISCO Secretary has just received a note from Torbjorn. Following on a stroke he has had to slow down his work but very much appreciates the ISCO Newsletter. He writes “You know I have worked with oil spills since I was 16 years old. I am now 61 years so it’s a fairly long time”. He is very interested in what’s going on and says “it’s a great pleasure to feel the contact with the “spill world”.

I am sure that I can speak for Torbjorn’s many friends in the spill response community in passing on our very best wishes.



ISCO is pleased to introduce and welcome the following new members who have recently joined the organisation.


• Resolve Marine Group Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA (Corporate Member)


• Jude Egwuonwu of Manchester, UK (Individual Member)


• Kevin Waterman of Bulimba, Queensland, Australia (Individual Member)


• Ayles Fernie International Ltd. of Sevenoaks, Kent, UK (Corporate Member)


• Vikoma International Ltd. of Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK (Corporate Member)


• Roberto Giannini of São Paulo, Brazil, (Individual Member)


• Alex Cobra of São Paulo, Brazil, (Individual Member)


• Arkadiusz Talaska of São Paulo, Brazil, (Individual Member)


• Dante Neto of São Paulo, Brazil, (Individual Member)


• Mario Izidoro of São Paulo, Brazil (Individual Member)



ISCO Members should please note that ISCO's 2010 AGM will be held in London on 4th May, 2010. Depending on the number of members advising their intention to attend, the meeting will be held at either the IMO HQ at Albert Embankment or at the Naval Club in Hill Street, Mayfair.


The Agenda and other meeting papers are under preparation and will be sent out to Members in the near future.



The tenth meeting of the IMO MEPC OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG10) concluded on Friday 19th March, 2010. Work on the Publication checklist for new IMO manuals, guidance documents and training materials was completed ready for submission to MEPC 60. After final editing the Manual on Incident Command Systems (ICS) is planned for submission at MEPC 61. The Group progressed work on a broad range of other oil and HNS projects.


Technical discussions were leavened by a number of special presentations. One by the delegation of the United States on the Exxon Valdez incident, included the video produced by NOAA, and reviewed the response efforts by those who were directly involved. The observer from IMarEST gave an illustrated talk on the MV Newcastle incident, involving ferrous sulphate, a dry bulk cargo, which had fluidised and shifted whilst in transit, resulting in the production and leaching of sulphuric acid liquor within the vessel compartment.  The representative from Norway described the Full City incident, an oil spill that occurred off the coast of Norway in July 2009, involving the loss of 1113 m3 of oil.  The delegation of Sweden shared its experience in responding to the Linda incident, which involved the loss of four freight containers, three containing HNS, and the delegation of Australia gave an overview of the Montara incident which resulted in the loss of some 6.6 million litres of oil over a period of 108 days, until the well was finally capped.


ISCO presented a paper on the independent training and accreditation of private oil and HNS response contractors to the requirements of shoreline cleaning and it was noted that, in association with ISCO, a working group has been established by ISAA. It was agreed that ISCO will submit a further technical paper to TG 11. Going forwards, ISCO agreed to continue, alongside other delegations, with efforts to collate experience and lessons learned in response to marine HNS incidents and in dealing with sub-sea oil recovery.



TG10, the tenth meeting of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group takes place over the week of Monday 15th March to Friday 19th March, 2010 at IMO Headquarters in London. The ISCO delegation will include David Usher (ISCO President), John McMurtrie (ISCO Secretary), Rear Admiral M. L. Stacey (Member of ISCO Executive Committee) and Dr Douglas Cormack (Honorary Member of ISCO).



Since we last gave you news on new members of ISCO, we are now pleased to introduce and welcome the following new members


• CI Agent Solutions of Louisville, Kentucky, USA (Corporate Member)

• Hidroclean Serviços Marítimos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Corporate Member)

• Spill Tech Pty. Ltd. of Queensland, Australia (Corporate Member)

• Mr Neil Marson, Cleveland, UK (Individual Member)

• Dr Shahriar Ameri of Amirkabir University, Tehran, Iran (Individual Member)


It’s a long time since representatives of the American, British, French and Swedish spill control associations (SCAA, BOSCA, SYCOPOL and SWEMARPOL) first met in 1983 at San Antonio to discuss the formation of ISCO.  The organisation was incorporated in London the following year as a not-for-profit international organisation with clearly defined objectives which included promotion of international co-operation and practical support for OPRC and other relevant IMO conventions. Further meetings took place over the following years at various locations including Aberdeen, London,

Tampa, Valetta, and Long Beach. Practical outcomes included positive contributions to international co-operation during the Exxon Valdez spill (1989) and Gulf War pollution (1991).

In those days, ISCO membership was restricted to Trade Associations representing private sector companies. This was later seen as incompatible with the recognition that the fulfilment of ISCO’s objectives depended on involvement of both public and private sectors working together in a co-operative way. These considerations led in 2005 to the re-launch of ISCO with an amended constitution. Membership of ISCO was opened up to all entities, public and private, with a legitimate interest in furthering the objectives of the organisation. Another positive impact was that the cost of joining ISCO became more affordable, with especially low fees for smaller companies, government and academic organisations, individuals and students.

Today, ISCO is recognised as the only global organisation that is dedicated to members of the broader international spill response community.


Currently, ISCO has members in thirty-three countries and is continuing to grow. Through its meetings, website, and newsletter the organisation provides significant benefits to its members. In addition to being part of a worldwide community of professionals that share a common interest, members are kept up to date on events, developing technologies, legislation, new trends and directions, and other items of mutual interest. They are alerted to opportunities for providing new products and services necessary for implementing legislation and meeting new challenges. ISCO promotes international co-operation and, through its network of members, assists governments and others by providing a rapid route for accessing and mobilising international support in any major pollution event. Most importantly, ISCO is a source of practical help in building response capacity and enhancing professional competency.




Response contractors and others that can contribute information to assist the OPRC-HNS Working Group can now download the information gathering templates. Simply go to the ISCO website at http://www.spillcontrol.org and select DOWNLOADS from the menu on the left hand side of the page.  Your contribution will be acknowledged and it’s an opportunity for you to raise your profile. We need to know who out there has the know-how and experience. Don’t hide your light under a bushel ! 


As previously reported in the ISCO Newsletter, ISCO is continuing to collate information on Marine HNS incident response and Subsea Oil Recovery as part of its contribution to the work of the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group. Rather than simply collecting statistical data, ISCO is focusing on the techniques used, problems encountered and lessons learned – information that will be of practical value in developing quality technical manuals.

Now ISCO has developed new report templates that will help to collate the information in a standard format. Incident responders who can contribute to the knowledge base are invited to contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ISCO also wants to hear from manufacturers, research establishments and consultants who are developing new technologies and equipment with application in HNS incident response or subsea oil recovery.



On behalf of ISCO, Jeff Taylor from Corporate Member, Marine Pollution Control Inc. will be hosting an informal “Meet and Greet” gathering at Clean Pacific at 5 p.m. on Tuesday 15th September at the Oregon Conference Center.

It’s an opportunity for ISCO Members and others who are interested to meet up with each other. Refreshments and a snack will be provided.  We’ll look forward to seeing you.



At the IMO OPRC-HNS TG8 meeting held in London over 29th September to 3rd October, 2008, ISCO joined with other delegations in agreeing to support the Secretariat in collating information on response to HNS incidents in order to address data gaps that exist and to submit information to the future meetings of the Technical Group.

At TG9 in July 2009, ISCO was asked to continue this work as an ongoing project.


Information collected so far includes case histories of responses to incidents involving toxic sludge, MTBE, Naphtha, Sulphuric Acid and Freon (a CFC compound).


It is the international spill response community that has hands-on experience in dealing with HNS incidents – solving the problems and developing techniques that work - experience that will eventually be used in developing response guidance manuals.


ISCO wants to hear from its members and others that can make a contribution to our collective effort. We want to hear not only from contractors but also from manufacturers and researchers who are developing new equipment and technology for HNS incident response. 


ISCO representative at MEPC, Dr Douglas Cormack presented his paper “Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors” to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee at its 59th Session. The Committee approved this paper for passage to the Technical Group for its next Session. He will now follow through with a graded assessment of Oil and HNS problems and their respective responses, as an Information Paper direct to the OPRC-HNS Technical Group, so that both papers can be discussed on this next occasion.


The 9th meeting of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG9) which ended 10th July was attended by delegations from 23 countries and 10 other organizations. Over the five days of the TG9 meeting delegates addressed a wide agenda of marine oil and HNS pollution related issues and agreed a report that will be submitted to the Marine Pollution Environment Committee (MEPC) this week. TG9 Chairman, Mr Nick Quinn (New Zealand) and Vice-Chairman, Mr Suh Woo Rack (Republic of Korea) were re-elected for the coming year.


ISCO’s efforts in collating information relating to the response to HNS incidents and to sub-sea oil recovery operations were acknowledged in the meeting report and the ISCO delegation has been asked to continue this work.

At this week’s MEPC meeting ISCO will be represented by Dr Douglas Cormack who will present a paper on "The Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors".


Since we last gave you news on new members of ISCO, we are now pleased to introduce and welcome the following new members –


· Captain Thejo Sadhu Prakash of GSS Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, India.


· SpillGo Ltd., Co Wicklow, Ireland.


· Evolution Sorbent Products, Chicago, USA.


· UK Spill Ltd., the UK’s Spill Response Industry Trade Association.


· Mr Mauricio Padilha of Alpina Briggs Defesa Ambiental S/A


· Seacor Environmental Services Middle East Ltd.


· Mr Marco Formicola of Alpina Ambiental S.A., Brazil.


· Mr Colin Mackay of Envirocol, Glasgow, UK.


· T & T Environmental Technology, Ankara, Turkey.


· Tulip Environmental Services, Istanbul, Turkey.


· Mr Erik Halbert of Boston Strategies International, USA

· Mrs Melinda Pascale of Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences, Finland


ISCO President, David Usher, will represent ISCO at the IMO Council Meeting (29th June – 3rd July, 2009).


David Usher will also attend the OPRC-HNS Technical Group Meeting (TG9) over July 6-10, together with ISCO Secretary, John McMurtrie, ISCO Member of Council for the UK, Kevin Miller and Honorary Member of ISCO, Dr Douglas Cormack. ISCO has submitted an information paper to TG9, reporting on ISCO’s work to collate information on HNS incident response and sub-sea oil recovery experience.

Dr Cormack will be presenting an information paper at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) Meeting (July 13-17). His paper is on the Independent Training and Accreditation of Private Oil and HNS Spill Response Contractors.