Prepping stream for sampling after a oil in Adak, Alaska – Photo by NOAAA changing Arctic environment, with its reduction in sea ice and rapidly opening sea-lanes, is supporting the continued growth of the oil exploration and production industry. Being prepared to deal with oil spills and their consequences is vital to protecting the marine environment. The Arctic Marine Oilspill Program (AMOP) is one significant way to bring people together every year to discuss current technology related to this research field. The 36th edition of the AMOP was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 4 through June 6, 2013.

This conference hosted by Environment Canada is an international technical seminar on environmental contamination and response. It is focused on preventing, assessing, containing and cleaning up spills of hazardous materials, especially in the Arctic marine environment. Solutions for addressing contaminated site remediation and rehabilitation are also discussed. Environment Canada began the program in 1978 to improve the technology and knowledge used to address Arctic marine oil spills. The conference has grown with the topical inclusion of chemical spill response, biotechnological treatment of spills and counter-terrorism issues over the years.

The Arctic Marine Oilspill Program was organized into several topical tracks, with multiple presentations being presented simultaneously in two rooms. Presentations were based on published research papers or improvements made in response equipment. The topics of discussion were:

  • Physical and Chemical Properties and Behavior of Oil Spills
  • Oil Spill Modeling
  • Hazardous and Noxious Substances
  • Fate and Effects of Oil
  • Detection, Tracking and Remote Sensing of Oil Spills
  • Remediation, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Oil Spills
  • Remediation, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Chemical and Hazardous Material Spills
  • Chemical/Biological/Radiological/Nuclear/Explosive (CBRNE) Response
  • Monitoring and Assessment of Chemical and Hazardous Material Spills
  • Oil Spill Contingency Planning, Preparation and Prevention
  • Case Histories and Recent Oil Spill Experiences
  • Response Technologies and Countermeasures for Oil Spills

Research posters were displayed throughout the conference and multiple opportunities were provided for professional networking. Any person involved in this field will benefit from participation in the AMOP conference. Cost is nominal and Environment Canada historically provides great venues for the meeting. The next AMOP Technical Seminar on Environmental Contamination and Response will be held in Calgary, Alberta on June 3through June 5, 2014.

Copyright © 2013 by Alan Sorum

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