The oil-mineral aggregation (OMA) process refers to oil droplets and fine sediments interaction leading to the formation of small aggregates. Previous studies have highlighted the significance of oil-mineral aggregate formation on the persistence of oil and the feasibility of its use for the development of spill countermeasures. However, the efficiency of the OMA process in ice-infested waters is not well known. Some preliminary laboratory works have reported promising results regarding the aggregation process in the presence of ice. In the light of these results, the Canadian Coast Guard has conducted a research program that aims to elaborate clean-up measures using the OMA process in ice-infested waters. The oceanographic parameters likely to affect the efficiency of the OMA process were reviewed with respect to the oceanographic conditions prevailing in the Saint-Lawrence River during winter. These results suggested that the low turbidity values and water turbulence prevailing during icing periods are likely to be important parameters influencing oil dispersion efficiency by the OMA process. Clean-up measures which would overcome these limiting effects, based on laboratory and field tests would be developed. This paper presents a literature review on the international expertise related to oil-ice-sediment interactions. The efficiency of the OMA process and the feasibility of using OMA as an oil spill countermeasure strategy in ice-infested waters is discussed herein. The main objectives of the experimental protocol designed for the development of clean-up measures aimed at enhancing oil dispersion in ice-infested waters by the OMA process are presented.

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