EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Oil Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: An Overview

Angela Carpenter
Angela Carpenter
  • Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (

Oil pollution can enter the marine environment from many sources including land, shipping, and oil installations. It can have significant impacts on the marine environment that, depending on the type of oil, can last for prolonged periods of time. Monitoring oil pollution in the Mediterranean Sea region has been conducted using both aerial and satellite surveillance. This presentation will provide an overview of the sources and volumes of oil entering the Mediterranean, identify impacts on the marine ecosystem in general terms, and will review surveillance activities in the region, including cooperative activities undertaken by regional and EU agencies, for example.


How to cite: Carpenter, A.: Oil Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea: An Overview, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2982,, 2020

Comments on the presentation

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 22 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-2982, Svitlana Liubartseva, 02 May 2020

    Dear Angela,

    Thank you so much for your presentation. It really looks strong.  

    Just one question, if there are any expert opinions about the actual temporal trends in {(a number of detected operational spills) divided to (a number of detections)} in the Med?

    Thank you in advance.

    It's a pity we coudn't meet in Vienna!



    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Angela Carpenter, 02 May 2020

      Dear Svitlana,


      Thanks for the positive respone.

      Regarding temporal trends in oil pollution in the Mediterranean, European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) data did show an improvement over time on the basis of satellite images of slicks and subsequent aerial or other confirmation that a slick was mineral oil. The source of such slicks was not identified.

      However, that data (collected under EMSA CleanSeaNet) was only available to early 2011. I contacted EMSA while preparing a chapter on EMSA Activities in the Mediterranean to see if national data was available on annual number of satellite observations by country - that type of data was not available. I also contacted a number of national agencies to see if they could provide data but this could not be obtained.

      While various authors in the volume on which the presentation is based did note that there has been an improvement in number of slicks, and a reduction in ship-generated waste/spills from accidents, no specific data was obtained to confirm trends over the last decade or so.

      It is a shame we cannot meet in person but hopefully that might be possible at a future EGU.