Chemical spills at sea are increasing - "really bad"

11 October, 2022

Emissions of mineral oils into the sea have decreased in recent years – on the other hand, chemical emissions into the sea have increased, reports SVT. It is about harmful chemicals that are released from ships that transport biofuels, for example pine oil.

In three years, the Coast Guard has found 160 of the chemical emissions in the seas around Sweden’s coasts, according to an internal report obtained by SVT. Most have taken place in the Baltic Sea and several have also taken place in Natura 2000 areas that are considered to be particularly worthy of protection.

– It’s really bad. If you look at the amount and size of these emissions, you can calculate that it is not good, says Peter Ryman, former station manager at the Coast Guard in Oskarshamn.

One explanation for the increasing emissions is the rising demand for climate-friendly biofuels. Often, the discharges occur in connection with cleaning the tanks at sea, which is legally up to a certain amount.

The Coast Guard has identified 32 vessels as sources of the emissions, some of which are suspected to have repeatedly emitted more than is permitted. But no one has yet been convicted in these cases.

– It’s really bad. Basically, you can carry out discharges at sea. That aspect alone makes it very difficult to investigate, says Jonatan Tholin, head of investigations at the Coast Guard.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

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