This paper describes afield handbook jointly prepared for the New Zealand (NZ) Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) and Australian MSA (AMSA) to help plan the scope, scale, and design of oil spill monitoring programs. A two-class monitoring nomenclature is used to classify monitoring according to its underlying purpose.
Type I (Operational) Monitoring: provides information of direct relevance to spill response operations, i.e. information needed to plan or execute response or cleanup strategies.
Type II (Scientific) Monitoring: relates to non-response objectives, i.e. short and long term environmental damage assessments (including recovery), purely scientific studies, and all post spill monitoring activities.
The two-class monitoring nomenclature recognizes the very different objectives of Type I and Type II monitoring, and the methods, scope, and degree of scientific rigour required for each. These in turn, have a significant bearing on the cost of the monitoring, and who will pay for it.
Currently, Type I monitoring costs are recovered in NZ and Australia from the spiller (or insurer) alongside other operational response costs. The handbook, formatted as a field pocket guide, provides specific guidance as to what may be considered “necessary” and “reasonable” Type I monitoring, as well as presenting guidelines for defining study objectives, spatial boundaries, monitoring parameters, sampling and assessment methods, study duration, logistics, design constraints (and solutions), resources, and termination criteria. Type II monitoring programs are usually not integral to the response, and funding is less well defined, so Type II monitoring is not specifically addressed in the Handbook. However, many of the Type I guidelines are also relevant for Type II studies.
The Handbook is intended to provide responders with sufficient guidance to determine the type of information necessary for an operational spill response, and an overview of the methods commonly used to collect the information needed to reach defensible spill response decisions in an appropriate time frame, and with an acceptable level of accuracy. The Handbook is supported by a Background Paper describing the key issues to be considered in establishing a monitoring program.