Initially, the source of the oil was unknown. The oil washed up at Tjörn, on the ecologically sensitive west coast of Sweden, coating everything in its path. The shoreline is rocky and jagged, and the oil went everywhere: in cracks, in little shallow bays, in pools and on tiny skerries. A strong westerly wind washed the oil high up on the rocks. Later the Swedish Coast guard learned the oil came from a collision between a bulk carrier and a fishing boat in the North Sea, west of Denmark.
The 450 tonnes of heavy fuel oil was thick, sluggish, and filled with seaweed and debris. The shallowness of the water and the rocky shoreline meant that no large recovery vessel could get close enough to do the job. The oil was not easily accessible from shore either, leaving smaller and more versatile workboats as the only viable option.
The clean-up crew used a variety of methods to clean the spill, including pumps, oil skimmers and even shovels and buckets. A workboat was deployed which was equipped with the Lamor Bow Collector, a stiff brush conveyor belt unit that efficiently recovers oil and debris. Recovered oil contains little free water.
The Bow Collector can be deployed quickly and is easy to use, and soon the crew were manoeuvring the workboat into shallow waters and hard-to-reach rocky nooks. The robust system can be used at up to 4 knots skimming speed as the forward motion of the vessel concentrates oil and debris to be picked up by the brush conveyor for separation and recovery.
The bow collector was perfect for this job because it could work in hard-to-reach places close to the beach and right next to the booms. The bow collector was also used in an ingenious way. It is a hard, dirty, and dangerous job to manually lift oil absorbent booms out of the water. The Swedish Coast Guard used the bow collector to pick up the dirty rolls of absorbent, says Rune Högström Head of Spill Response at Lamor.
The rocky coast of Tjörn was quickly, safely, and efficiently cleaned, protecting the marine ecosystem and the homes of the locals. The workers who used the Lamor Bow Collector had an extra bonus: it kept the deck of their workboat relatively clean, compared to the other boats, so they had a more pleasant working environment.
With extensive experience in responding to oil spills, Lamor continually seeks to gain knowledge from each project. The positive outcomes of the Tjörn incident have provided valuable insights for Lamor to apply when dealing with similar situations worldwide.
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